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'Polite' kidnappers free their victim

KIDNAPPERS released an elderly and ill Greek shipping magnate early yesterday, eight days after snatching him at gunpoint from a seaside suburb of Athens, police said.

A police patrol found Periklis Panagopoulos, 74, in a parking lot in the Aspropyrgos industrial area southwest of Athens at about 1:30am.

A frail-looking Panagopoulos said his kidnappers were polite and had treated him well but would not give details about where he was held or how many people were involved.

"There was more than one of them, and their behavior was correct and polite, and they took good care of me and my requirements," he told reporters. "I am still dazed."

The magnate's wife, Katerina Panagopoulou, said he had not been harmed.

Three gunmen had snatched Panagopoulos and his driver from near the shipowner's home in the southern Athens suburb of Vouliagmeni on January 12. The kidnappers later released the driver unharmed, but tied to a tree. Two vehicles used in the kidnapping were found burned out several kilometers from the site of the abduction.

Panagopoulos said he had been allowed to watch TV and he had followed the media of his kidnapping.


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