From The Times:
November 26, 2004
Harry ends his Argentine polo holiday after fear of kidnap plot
By Andrew Pierce
PRINCE HARRY was flying back to Britain from Argentina last night after he was at the centre of a kidnap scare in which gun shots were fired.
Security had been increased at the polo ranch in Lobos, 60 miles from Buenos Aires, where he was staying as part of his gap year after local police were alerted to kidnap threats from the local underworld.
NI_MPU('middle');Prince Harry, 20, was moved to the British Embassy in Buenos Aires on Wednesday night for his safekeeping before flying back to Britain yesterday.
The Prince of Wales is demanding a full report from the embassy in Argentina and from Harry’s squad of royal protection officers. He was kept informed by telephone throughout.
The Argentine Government was alerted of the kidnap threat by a murder suspect in the local underworld. The Security Ministry responded by sending a squad of 15 armed police officers to patrol the perimeter of the El Remanso ranch, which is set in 17 hectares of land, in addition to the royal protection officers who flew out with the Prince.
Three nights ago Argentine police fired shots into the air after two shots were heard being fired in the area. It is thought that Prince Harry was at the ranch at the time.
The Argentine newspaper Pŕgina 12
reported yesterday that the local judiciary was told that a plot had been hatched against the Prince, a well-known figure in the area since his arrival two weeks ago.
The newspaper wrote: “(They) said that underworld figures were planning a kidnap or armed attack against Harry, with the aim of sparking an enormous national and international drama and provoking the resignation of the Minister of Security for Buenos Aires, León Arslanián.”
The man who raised the alarm said that Prince Harry regularly gave his British royal protection officers the slip and went to a bar in Salvador Mariá, a village three kilometres from the ranch.
The newspaper added: “That is where they were going to kidnap him. In any case, the report in itself sparked worry, security around the Prince was reinforced and the Argentine Government was informed. For the Argentine police, Harry became a real headache.”
The newspaper alleged that Buenos Aires civil servants telephoned the British Embassy on Tuesday to ask diplomats to try to “contain” and “control” Harry after several alleged drunken escapades during his stay.
The embassy last night denied that they had received complaints about the conduct of the third in line to the Throne. A spokesman said: “This embassy has received no communication from the Argentine Government. We are not aware of any problems that Prince Harry has caused.”
Last night Clarence House also denied that Harry had been living it up in bars. “That is absolutely not true. Nor was Harry out of control of his protection officers. We emphatically deny that,” a spokesman said.
“Harry was not living it up. He went to a local bar a few times. He was never out of the control of his protection officers. He did not give them the slip. There are some lurid allegations flying around here which should be treated with the utmost caution.”
Clarence House did not deny that the local police had taken seriously the kidnap threat and the prospect of an armed attack. “There was a threat to Harry. The local police chief went on the television to say that the shots were fired into the air, as a routine precaution. The men on the perimeter, who triggered the alarm, were illegal hunters.”
Clarence House also denied that Prince Harry’s trip had been cut short because of security. “Initially Harry was due to stay until close to Christmas but we announced before he left for Argentina that the trip had been cut short because he had injured his knee and would not be able to ride.” The security drama and the heavily denied allegations of wild nights are the latest in a series of colourful incidents that have dogged the younger son of the Prince of Wales. Harry was taken to a rehabilitation clinic by his father after admitting that he had smoked cannabis and been involved in under-age drinking. He has regularly been photographed in nightclubs with Page 3 Girls and models. Last month he was involved in an altercation with photographers as he was leaving a nightclub at 3am.