TWO Hongkong men and three mainlanders were yesterday sentenced to 14 years in jail for the kidnapping of a Chinese restaurateur in Vancouver and for attempting to extort a HK$7.73 million ransom from his wealthy father. Hongkong immigrants Roland Tam Kwei-nin, 28, Elton Hui Kwok-keung, 32, and former Chinese refugees Ip Kwok-wai, 36, Lai Chun-ngai, 26, and Paul Lok Po-ping were described by the Canadian judge as greedy. Through their Chinese translator, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Richard Low recounted Mr Warren Cheng's ''several days of terror''. He said the 28-year-old son of a wealthy Taiwanese businessman was convinced he was going to be killed and his body dumped as he struggled to work his blindfold loose so he could identify two of his captors. Justice Low described how one of the kidnappers continually hit Mr Cheng during his ordeal, feeding him only twice in six days as he lay in the basement of a rented house with his hands and feet bound. ''Their greed was unlimited. I conclude that this was a group of friends whose sole pursuit was greed. I am satisfied that each accused was involved at an early stage,'' he said. ''They were foiled only by Warren Cheng's courage and the careful and intelligent police work in Vancouver and Hongkong.'' Mr Cheng was grabbed by three masked men in the underground car park of his apartment block and with two guns at his head, driven in his Mercedes-Benz to a house Ip had rented under a false name. Ip and Lok then flew to Hongkong to contact the victim's father, Mr Stephan Cheng, in Taiwan to arrange for the delivery of a ransom to be paid in the lobby of the Hotel Furama. Lai and Tam remained in Vancouver to guard Mr Cheng at gunpoint, while Hui acted as the liaison between Hongkong and Canada, and supplied the van for the victim's release once the ransom was paid. Mr Stephan Cheng was contacted by the two kidnappers when they arrived in Hongkong and warned his son would be killed if he brought in the police. Despite the threat, he immediately contacted Vancouver police. A joint operation between the Royal Hongkong Police, Vancouver and Taiwanese police resulted in the capture of the five men and a 45-day trial costing more than $6 million. The trial included evidence from a dozen Hongkong policemen, who testified that with help from another 100 officers, they observed and photographed Lok contacting Mr Stephan Cheng and their cohorts in Vancouver. A video recording, made by a concealed camera in an undercover officer's briefcase, and presented as evidence, showed Ip collecting the ransom from a man posing as Mr Stephan Cheng's associate in the lobby of the Hotel Furama. After collecting the $1.63 million ransom, which had been negotiated down from $7.73 million, another undercover officer followed Ip into the Central MTR. There he passed the shopping bag containing the recorded serial numbered banknotes to Lok, who dashed through the crowd before being arrested by police. Police, armed with a search warrant, seized the bag of money in a Sheung Wan flat occupied by Lok. Meanwhile, Mr Warren Cheng, who had been released near a seedy Vancouver hotel, contacted the Canadian police and led them to the rented house where he had been kept. A short while later they arrested Tam and Lai after Hui approached them with an evasive confession about a kidnapping plan ''arranged by Mr X''. Hui, the manager of a Thai restaurant on Vancouver's waterfront, admitted choosing Mr Cheng and other wealthy immigrants as possible targets from a list of patrons. Visibly shaken by the ordeal, Mr Cheng sold his and his partner's trendy California-style restaurant, worth more than $6 million and returned to his family in Taiwan. Mr Cheng's partner, Mr Steve Chen, also fled Vancouver for Los Angeles after hearing reports he was also supposed to be grabbed in another scheme organised to net the kidnappers $12.2 million. A sixth man was also arrested in connection with the kidnapping, but was released after police were unable to link him to the rented house, which Lai and Tam scrubbed clean of all but two sets of fingerprints. At first, Vancouver police investigators feared the kidnapping was connected to the Flying Dragons gang in San Francisco and Los Angeles. But further investigations revealed some of the Vancouver kidnappers were casual associates of triad members and police concluded the five men may have tried to copy the 1990 kidnapping of another wealthy Taiwanese businessman's son in Los Angeles and the subsequent ransom payment in The Excelsior Hotel in Hongkong. Even with their son safe, the Cheng family did not wish to testify against the kidnappers for fear of reprisal, and only agreed after Vancouver police convinced them to fly to Vancouver under protection. ''This a very common crime in Southeast Asia, and generally people do not want to co-operate - the idea being pay the money and get it over with,'' a Vancouver police detective said. ''Fortunately we could provide them with a 24-hour police guard.'' Although the five faced the maximum of life imprisonment, Justice Low conditionally stayed two of the four convictions in sentencing them to two 14-year convictions of kidnapping and hostage-taking to be served concurrently. He cited the fact none of them had serious criminal records and recognised that Tam and Lai fed noodles and chicken to the victim, bought eye drops for his contact lenses and allowed him to use the washroom. The five will be eligible for parole in less than five years. While defence lawyers said they would not appeal sentencing, the four tile setters and former restaurant manager will consider filing for appeals on their convictions. During the trial, defence counsel argued that testimony offered by RHKP officers was ''untrustworthy'' and ''speculative'', adding that proper identifications of the accused were unsubstantiated. As one of British Columbia's most expensive trials, police told the Sunday Morning Post they hoped it would serve as a deterrent for those considering international kidnapping schemes. ''We did the best we could and it worked out well,'' a police spokesman said. ''I'm also very happy that the Chinese people in Vancouver can maybe take one more step up the ladder of having that trust in us.''