POLICE arrested five suspected kidnappers, rescued a 27-year-old woman and recovered $50,000 in ransom money early yesterday.
The victim, who works in an entertainment agency, was found by the side of Tai Po Road near St Christopher's Home at about 7.40 am. She was not injured.
That was about 40 minutes after her family, who live in Fo Tan, had left an envelope containing cash on the road near Wo Che Estate bus terminus in Sha Tin.
A police source on Hong Kong Island said five men, including a 31-year-old taxi driver, were rounded up in raids on two residential premises in Sha Tin and Yuen Long between 8 am and 1 pm.
The suspects, aged between 17 and 32, were last night still being detained by Hong Kong Island Regional Crime Unit II officers for inquiries.
Detectives were hunting for other people believed to be connected with the kidnap.
Police sources said the woman had been terrorised for more than 30 hours since late Sunday night, including being stuffed in the boot of a taxi and subsequently detained in a Wo Che Estate flat in Sha Tin.
The victim took a taxi at Sha Tin railway station at about midnight on Sunday after returning by train from a night out on Hong Kong Island.
After she had told the driver she wanted to go to her Lok Fung Path home in Fo Tan, the suspect suddenly produced a knife and threatened her.
The woman was later blindfolded, gagged and pushed into the boot.
She was then driven to the Wo Che Estate flat where she was imprisoned.
One of her elder brothers, who works in the Admiralty office of the Architectural Services Department, received a telephone call at about 3.30 pm on Monday from a man demanding a $300,000 ransom.
The victim has another elder brother who works as a doctor for the Hospital Authority and lives with her in their Fo Tan flat.
A police source said the ransom was finally reduced to $50,000 and arrangements were made to put the money on the road in Wo Che yesterday.