British businessman kidnapped in Ecuador -local media

QUITO (Reuters) – A prominent British businessman and informal diplomat in the city of Guayaquil was kidnapped in Los Rios province, north of the industrial city, local media reported on Saturday.

Local media outlets, including Ecuavisa, reported that the victim was taken from his home in the town of Baba.

In a statement posted on social media, police said they were investigating a presumed crime against a businessman that occurred early Saturday in Los Rios, but did not identify the victim.

Local media reported the victim is Guayaquil’s honorary British consul, Colin Armstrong, and also referred to him as the founder and owner of agricultural company Agripac.

The firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Development Office said in a statement it is in contact with authorities following the disappearance of a British man, but did not confirm his identity or the location of the potential crime.

Kidnapping for ransom has become increasingly common in Ecuador amid rising crime largely attributed to drug trafficking gangs.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Jonathan Oatis)