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OSAKA — Local prosecutors demanded a 12-year prison term Tuesday for a former Ibaraki municipal employee charged with abducting an elementary school girl and demanding a 42 million yen ransom.

Prosecutors told the Osaka District Court that Hisao Kawabata, 51, kidnapped 9-year-old Sayaka Teranishi to collect money to pay back a gambling debt.

Kawabata is accused of snatching the girl while she was on her way home from the Settsu Municipal Elementary School at around 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 20.

Kawabata phoned her home the next day and demanded 42 million yen, prosecutors said. He made several more calls to her home and her mother’s cellular phone that day to change his instructions on where to drop off the money.

On Kawabata’s orders, the girl’s parents placed the money beside an expressway in the city of Suita, but he did not appear.

Kawabata released the girl at around 9 a.m. on Dec. 22 in the city of Settsu, they said.

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