DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) – The director of an Irish security company was forced Tuesday to steal $1.7 million from his own company and deliver it to an armed gang that had kidnapped his wife and daughter, police said.

The police press office was unwilling to release much information about the raid. But a detective – speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media – offered a much more detailed narrative based on the family’s account.

The detective said the targeted man is director of GLS, a security company in the Bluebell district of west Dublin that offers armored-car protection for cash shipments.

He said at least five masked, armed men stormed into the family’s secluded country home northwest of Dublin about 1:30 a.m. (0130GMT) and warned the man his wife and grown-up daughter would be killed if he didn’t deliver as much cash as he could physically carry to a rural rendezvous point.

Some gang members took away the two women and left them tied up in the County Wicklow hills south of Dublin. The women worked themselves free from the ropes and raised the alarm – more than an hour after the man had already handed over the cash.

The detective and police press office both declined to identify the targeted family by name, who were described as traumatized but physically unharmed.

It was the latest in a string of “tiger kidnappings” in Ireland, when gangs take the families of security officials hostage and threaten to kill them unless the officials agree to rob their own workplace. The term originates with East Asian gangs that pioneered the practice – and compared their scouting of targets to how a tiger stalks its prey before pouncing.

Tiger-kidnapping gangs pulled off the two biggest cash robberies in British history: a 53 million pound ($100 million) raid on a cash depot in Tonbridge, southeast of London, in February 2006; and the 26.5 million pound ($50 million) robbery of the Northern Bank headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in December 2004.

Five men were convicted of involvement in the Tonbridge robbery and a sixth is awaiting trial after extradition from Morocco. Nobody was convicted directly for the Northern Bank heist; one of the targeted bank employees was acquitted of involvement, and a private financier is still awaiting trial on charges of handling and laundering some of the stolen cash.

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