An American-Chinese toy importer has been held hostage for 20 days by workers at a bankrupt factory who are demanding payment for toy deliveries to New York. Zhu Haiou, in his late 30s and based in New Jersey, said he and his wife were seized on December 7 by about 500 workers laid off from the Sheda Toy Factory in Sheyang city, Jiangsu province. Mr Zhu said he was being guarded around the clock in a dispute involving US$55,000 (HK$429,000) in toy deliveries. Mr Zhu's wife, Hu Lingling, who was freed earlier this month and is now back in New Jersey trying to raise money to save her husband, said: 'The locals are acting like bandits.' She claimed the local government was behind the workers' actions. Ms Hu also accused county officials of sending the factory bankrupt by spending its finances. Police have not intervened, saying they do not want to provoke the workers. The factory closed last year with debts of more than 20 million yuan (HK$18.9 million). Sheyang trade official Cai Hongshi said: 'The workers are still unemployed and the bankruptcy procedures are taking place.' After 20 days of negotiation, Mr Zhu says he is close to an agreement with his captors that is being studied by the factory's bankruptcy committee. He agreed to pay the workers 60,000 yuan and place his parents' property in their hands as a guarantee against failure to pay, if he is allowed to go to the US to pay the balance of the US$55,000.