Top footballer's father kidnapped

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The Independent Online
THE FATHER of Mexico's best-known footballer, Jorge Campos, pioneer of flamboyant goalkeepers' jerseys, has been kidnapped in the tourist resort of Acapulco. It was the latest in a wave of abductions that has swept Mexico over the past two years, making it one of the most dangerous places in the world to be rich or famous.

Police sources said left-wing guerrillas, who operate in the mountains above the resort and often finance themselves through kidnappings, may have been behind the abduction of Alvaro Campos. The guerrillas, from the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR), emerged three years ago as "defenders of the poor" after a massacre of peasants by police, but they hark back to similar movements from the Sixties.

Mr Campos, believed to be in his fifties, had been watching a football match at the Jorge Campos football field - named in honour of his son - when at least half a dozen men armed with automatic rifles blocked his car. They forced him into a pick-up truck and disappeared, possibly into the mountains or the shanty towns over a hill from Acapulco.

Witnesses said the men were not masked but no one recognised them. Members of the Campos family confirmed the kidnapping and said they feared for Mr Campos's life. They said they had so far had no contact with the kidnappers but were expecting to hear from them soon. They declined to say whether they would consider any ransom.

Jorge Campos, Mexico's top goalkeeper for several years who has also played as a striker for top clubs, became best known for his electrifyingly coloured jerseys, shocking then but almost the norm now. He currently plays for the Chicago Fire in the United States' Major Soccer League as well as a Mexican side during the US off-season.

Friends said he was in Hong Kong for a tournament with the Mexican national side but rushed to Acapulco as soon as he heard the news.

Hundreds of people are abducted each year in Mexico, including relatives of television stars, musicians or other celebrities. The son of one of the country's top ranchero ballad singers, Vicente Fernandez, was released last September after four months in captivity. His family, which reportedly paid several million dollars for his freedom, kept the kidnapping secret until he was free, often a condition laid down by the criminals.

n Luis Reina Corbalan, a 60-year-old lawyer from Argentina, and son-in- law of Italy's last king, was found naked and strangled on Wednesday, with the belt of his bathrobe round his neck, in the bedroom of his luxury villa in the Mexican tourist own of Cuernavaca. His chauffeur, Juan Manuel Barrera, said he had discovered the body after arriving for work.

Mr Reina was married to Princess Marie Beatrice of Savoy, whose father was Italy's last king, Umberto II, before Italy was declared a republic soon after the Second World War. Umberto II had ruled for only one month after the abdication of his father, Victor Emmanuel III, in 1946.

Mr Reina, once an Argentinian diplomat to the United Nations, practised as a lawyer in Mexico and was also a law lecturer at the Autonomous University of Morelos.