police vehicles
police vehiclesReuters

A quick-thinking Israeli businessman in Colombia managed to escape from kidnappers – by calling rescuers and telling them in Hebrew that he was stuck.

The story was published in local newspapers over the weekend, as the three people who sought to kidnap the Israelis were put on trial.

The incident took place Friday, as the Israeli visited a cafe outside the capital of Bogota. As kidnappings of foreign business executives are not uncommon in Colombia, the Israeli had hired his own bodyguard, a former police officer – who was with him at the cafe.

On some pretext, he took the Israeli to a nearby field, where he was taken captive by two individuals with whom the bodyguard was in league. The kidnappers demanded that he come up with $7.5 million – or else.

Thinking quickly, the Israeli told his captors that he could possibly raise that kind of money, but that he needed to call his banker. The victim was given a phone – but instead of calling the bank, he called the Israeli embassy in Bogota and told them what had happened – in Hebrew, without the kidnappers realizing what had happened.

Minutes later, police surrounded the area, and from there the road to freedom for the Israeli was a short one.

“The kidnappers threatened to cut off the victim's fingers,” the indictment against the three kidnappers said. “They threatened to cut his eyes out as well.”

The former police officer, apparently the brains behind the operation, could be sentenced to 28 years in prison for his crime, authorities in Colombia said.