With a child suffering from heart disease, the gang-rape victim and her husband went to Cox's Bazar in the hopes of collecting money from the tourists for treatment, the Rapid Action Battalion said in a briefing today.
However, the mother ended up being gang-raped while her husband and eight-year-old child were tied up.
"A gang of young men led by Ashiqul Islam Ashiq got to know about the family's endeavour to gather money and tried to extort them. Failing to get any money they took them hostage and took them to Zia Guest Inn by a CNG-run auto rickshaw," RAB Legal and Media Wing Director Commander Khandker Al Moin said during a press conference at its Karwan Bazar Media Centre.
"Once there, a few of the gang members raped the woman and demanded Tk50,000 as ransom from the husband. The incident took place on 22 December," he added.
The spokesperson said, "Ashiq confessed to all these after being arrested on 26 December. Three others - Rezaul Karim, 25, Mamunur Rashid, 28, and Mehedi Hasan, 21 - were previously arrested on 25 December."
He also said the woman had no prior connection with the gang members. The main accused Ashiq has been arrested and efforts are underway to arrest the others.
"Ashiq runs a gang of 30-35 men. He is involved in various crimes including theft, robbery, kidnapping, extortion, land occupying, and drug dealing.
He was first arrested in 2014 along with weapons. There are 12 cases against Ashiq including weapons, drugs, and women oppression, extortion cases.
Police have arrested him five times till now and has served a total of two and a half years of jail time between 2018 and 2021. Ashiq has just been released from jail on 7 December," Khandker Al Moin continued.
He further said, "It was known that he often trapped tourists by blackmailing them with the help of hotel managers.
On the day of the incident when the husband could not give them the Tk50,000 they left them locked in Zia Guest Inn and fled from there."
When the news of the incident spread in different media, Ashiq then went into hiding.
He changed his appearance and went to Dhaka. He was arrested from Madaripur's Mostafa bus stand while trying to go to Patuakhali from Dhaka.
On 23 December, RAB-15 rescued a female tourist who was reportedly gang-raped by local youths in Cox's Bazar as they held her husband and their eight-year-old child hostage.
The victim's husband filed a case around 8pm on Thursday with Cox's Bazar Model police station, 12 hours after the incident, accusing seven people.