A woman who became the victim of a terrifying kidnapping when she attended a bogus job interview was praised by a judge yesterday for her courage in thwarting the carefully planned crime. The woman, 21, managed to raise the alarm even though she had been tied up, blindfolded, gagged and stripped naked. Her actions led to the arrest of the mastermind behind the crime, Lam Kwok-cheung, 26, who was jailed for eight years by the Court of First Instance yesterday. Deputy Judge David Gill said: 'She was put through what must have been a truly terrifying experience, having been bound, gagged, blindfolded, stripped naked and sexually assaulted. 'Perhaps even worse would have been the horror associated with not knowing what else lay in store for her. The operation was foiled only because she had the courage and fortitude to clear the tape that was gagging her and raise the alarm.' The judge asked the Department of Justice to pass on his commendation to her. Lam, who hatched the plan after losing his job as an apprentice plumber, admitted kidnapping the victim. Two of his 'henchmen' were also sentenced. Kwok Yau-fai, 27, was jailed for four years and Tam Wai-kit, 20, was sent to a training centre after they had admitted unlawfully imprisoning the victim. Christina Ma, defending Lam, said he had originally regarded the idea of carrying out a kidnap in order to solve his financial crisis as a joke when it was suggested to him by a friend. 'But as his financial problems grew more desperate, this initially ludicrous idea took root and played on his mind,' she said. He placed a newspaper advertisement for a clerk to work at a wholesale food firm. The victim responded and attended an interview at Kwun Tong Industrial Centre. She was invited back for a second interview, on September 13, and it was then that she was set upon by the gang. As she sat on a chair, expecting the interview to begin, she was suddenly attacked from behind and her head was pinned to the desk. A metal bar or knife was placed against her body and she was told to freeze or she would be killed. Her arms and legs were tied up and adhesive tape was used to cover her mouth and eyes. Lam took her credit card and left to try to remove money from her account. The victim's clothes were then cut from her until she was naked, and a bag was placed over her head. She was indecently assaulted and tied to a ladder. Deputy Judge Gill said the victim later realised she was alone because there was no noise. 'After a while, she managed to clear the tape from her mouth to call for help. Her cries were heard by other occupants of the building and the police were called,' he said. Police rescued the victim and staked out the premises. Lam was arrested when he returned, intending to take her to his father's pig farm to hold her hostage for a ransom. Kwok and Tam were captured later. Deputy Judge Gill said: 'This was, by any reckoning, a horrible crime. Lam was meticulous in preparation and planning.' The conduct of the defendants was 'gruesome and cowardly' and the victim had suffered a 'ghastly' ordeal. Ms Ma said Lam had been suffering 'emotional turmoil' at the time of the crime because his wife had lost her job as a nurse through illness and the couple had mounting debts. Kwok and Tam claimed they had thought they were being recruited simply to recover a debt from the victim.