Housewives 'held hostage' by villagers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 May, 2000, 12:00am

A busload of housewives on a day trip were taken hostage by villagers who ordered them to hand over cash and film, they said yesterday.

Sixteen middle-aged members of the Helena May club were detained for an hour yesterday by 'thugs' in the walled village at Kat Hing Wai, Pat Heung, when they stopped to take photographs.

'All of a sudden, these four thugs came out and started demanding money. They said, 'we want you to give us the film'. Then they refused to take the film,' said one of the women, Yvette Rogers. 'They asked for $200, then $300, then they wouldn't tell us [what they wanted]. It was just, 'we want more money'.' The villagers blocked a car park exit and issued demands through the bus driver and a local woman in the group. Mrs Rogers said that when she suggested the women walk away, the villagers 'started strutting and threatening bodily harm'.

She said the women - mostly expat housewives - called police on a mobile phone but were unable to direct them as they did not know their location. The villagers refused to tell them.

'We were there for an hour. Finally the police figured out where we were and came to find us,' Mrs Rogers said.

A police spokesman said the dispute arose because a 58-year-old woman in the group took photographs in a private area of the village and refused to hand over film to residents. He said the matter was settled when police arrived soon after noon. No arrests were made.