If you suddenly become rich, what would be your biggest fear?

Recent years, one kind of insurance is becoming more and more popular, that is called Kidnap & Ransom Insurance. According to an investigation of AIG, in Fortune 100 companies, more than 60% of employees choose to buy a kidnap and ransom insurance.

What else can we do except buying insurance in advance?

In the book Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business, author Anja Shortland calls kidnapping “the trickiest trade in the world.” Kidnapping needs substantial costs for people, land, weapons, cars and so on. If the ransom almost equals the cost, no one would kidnap others.

But how?

Let’s see how some billionaires made it through.

Stalling is winning

Alfred Heineken

In 1983, The CEO of Heineken International, Alfred Henry Heineken, was kidnapped. The kidnappers are Cor van Hout, Willem Holleeder, Jan Boellaard, Frans Meijer, and Martin Erkamps. Willem Holleeder was the leader, the son of Heineken’s employee. He hates his father, who ill-treated him when he was a child.

Holleeder believed that poverty is the root of his pain. Why he was poor? Because his father was a loser. Why his father was a loser? Because his boss was mean.

See how mentally tortured he was.

Therefore, Holleeder suggested to kidnap the boss of Heineken International.

When you see him form the perspective of nowadays, you’ll find that Holleeder is a great cosplayer. The essence of cosplay is the equipment, the more expensive, the more professional.

Holleeder worshiped Mafia deeply from the bottom of his heart. So, he decided to rub a bank for money. What’s more, he specially designed a chamber and a complicated cash payment method. His requires were sent to the police from codes in the newspaper.

The Dutch police was totally confused. They believed that, it was definitely not an ordinary crime, only a secret massive criminal gang could manage to do so. Hence, their investigation direction was wrong at the beginning.

But as the CEO of such a big company, Heineken was sophisticated and experienced enough. He took his first step carefully: showing his importance.

Heineken said to Holleeder, “I’m the core. If I die, the company is finished. So, they will come to save me whatever it takes.”

Kidnappers were like, “Yeah! We have the right person!” They were happy about that.

Then, Heineken asked for showering, reading and some delicious bread.

From that moment, Heineken started the game with kidnappers.

At first, kidnappers denied him. However, after some talks, Heineken got his newspaper, bread, even a new pillow.

Via asking and negotiating, Heineken established his personal indignity and figured out who was the leader among these five kidnappers, who was the follower and who was a soft touch.

One day, Heineken said in front of all the kidnappers.

“Soon you’ll get the ransom and become rich. I would like to share some of my life experience here a rich man. The so called rich, means either you have a lot of money, or you have a lot of friends. You can’t have both. So, what’s your choice?”

Some kidnappers were lost in thoughts. Heineken started to wait.

According to the book, Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business:

If conditions allow, kidnappers would always choose to have maximum profits as long as possible. The longer they wait, the higher their cost would be. Only when time is limited and cost is extreme high, there is a turnaround.

Finally, it was the last day to pay the ransom. Disturbances and suspicions filled the air.

Heineken picked three kidnappers and said the same thing to them:

“if you guarantee my safety, I’ll pay you more than the sum of everyone else.”

The police received an anonymous letter that night, stating the whole kidnapping plan.

Heineken was saved.


Heineken chose the most appropriate time to break the psychological line of defense of kidnappers from the inside. He delayed his time and wined at last.

Timing and strategies are the two important factors of Heineken’s victory. We should learn from this sophisticated entrepreneur. Whether you do business or at work, observe first, then choose the right time and use the right strategy.

2015 film Kidnapping Mr. Heineken

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.