War in Afghanistan

Taliban kidnap victim is former HK resident

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 March, 2011, 12:00am

A man being held by the Taliban after being reported missing for three months used to live in Hong Kong.

Colin Rutherford, - a 26-year-old university graduate of Chinese-Scottish ancestry who carries a Canadian passport - went missing in Afghanistan 'after travelling to the country as a tourist', said Canada's foreign affairs department.

In a statement published on an internet site, a Taliban group said it captured Rutherford on Sunday in Ghazni province, accusing him of being a spy sent to discover the hideouts of the insurgent group.

However, the Canadian national daily The Globe and Mail said Canadian officials had begun investigating his disappearance three months ago. It is not clear why his capture has only been announced now.

Rutherford grew up in Singapore and also lived in Hong Kong and Kuwait. He has also travelled to Italy, Greece, Croatia and Bulgaria in 2008 with his late father. His mother lives in Toronto.

In late 2009 he travelled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he befriended aid workers for Comprehensive Disaster Relief Services, who invited him to Kashmir to witness the impact of the 2005 earthquake.

Rutherford described several of his travel adventures on various social media websites, and had said he would be in Kabul from October 23 to November 6.

He described himself in a Facebook post as being 'an average Eurasian' and as a 'shy person with limited knowledge of Urdu'.

He said he had travelled in recent years to Pakistan and Afghanistan after studying maths and physics and graduating in 2009.

Rutherford was in Pakistan for three weeks in the autumn of 2009. That was when he befriended the disaster relief aid workers.