100 armed police seal off village in kidnap gang hunt

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 September, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 September, 2002, 12:00am

More than 100 armed police sealed off a Yuen Long village yesterday in the search for a kidnap gang that allegedly abducted a businessman and demanded a $5 million ransom.

Three suspected kidnappers were arrested after the victim, who has businesses in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou, was released when the ransom money was handed over.

The victim, a 39-year-old car dealer in Guangzhou who also owns a Macau entertainment establishment, was released by his captors at Wang Toi Shan, Yuen Long, shortly after the ransom was collected at a petrol station in Ho Man Tin late on Thursday night.

Police confirmed the arrest of the three men, aged between 25 and 29, but declined to disclose more information, saying other suspects were still at large and the ransom had not yet been recovered.

Officers from the Kowloon West Regional Crime Unit investigating the kidnap have not ruled out the possibility that it was the result of a money dispute.

Sources said the victim, who is surnamed Lam and who lives with his family in Hong Kong, was reportedly approached by several men claiming to be police officers. They said they wanted to 'talk to him concerning his businesses' as he was collecting his car at a Tsim Sha Tsui East car park on Wednesday shortly after 7pm.

He was driven to Yuen Long, where he was kept in a village house and threatened with a handgun and knives.

He was pistol-whipped by the gang and suffered slight head injuries but did not need hospital treatment.

Mr Lam was forced to call a business partner, who then called Mr Lam's family and told them to prepare the $5 million ransom.

They were told the ransom would be collected at a filling station in Ho Man Tin the following night. The family then called in the police.

The sources said several men arrived at the filling station at 11pm, grabbed the ransom money and sped off in two cars before the victim was released in Wang Toi Shan.

The victim gave descriptions of his captors to police.

A full-scale police operation was mounted in Yuen Long and the entrances to several villages were sealed off in the hunt for the kidnappers.

Police donned bulletproof vests and riot helmets after receiving information that one of the kidnappers had a gun.