A Hong Kong teacher yesterday faked an epileptic fit to dupe a gang of knife-wielding gangsters who kidnapped him in Shenzhen. Tom Beckett, a burly 95kg Australian, fought desperately against five men in a back alley in the border city before he was subdued. 'I saw the knife and knew it was time to stop fighting,' he said last night. His ordeal began when he went to Shenzhen at 10am yesterday to buy movies. Once through the border checkpoint at Lowu, he started browsing at outlets close to the station. A shop manager suggested a girl could help him find good deals for genuine DVDs. 'Foolishly, I went with her and another girl in a taxi,' Mr Beckett said yesterday, safely back in Hong Kong. 'After 13 minutes we stopped in a suburb and I paid the 27 yuan cab fare. The girls said the shop was around the corner. But it was a dead-end alley.' Then five men suddenly appeared, trapping him. One hit him with a martial arts blow to the chest. Mr Beckett fought fiercely but was no match for the five gangsters. With a knife threatening him, he was bundled into the side door of a new building. Inside a flat, the men taped his wrists, legs and mouth with 7cm-wide clear tape. Then they took his wallet and searched his backpack. 'They found my bank card and demanded the number,' Mr Beckett later told Hong Kong police at a report station at Lowu. 'I pretended to have an epileptic fit; as a teacher I have had students with these conditions so I knew what it was like.' Alarmed, the gang took $900 and dragged his watch off his wrist. Then they tried to revive him. 'They poured water over my head and massaged my chest. They obviously didn't want dead meat on their hands,' he said. Mr Beckett, still pretending to be ill, staggered out of the flat, escorted by two of the gang. They had scooped his passport and other non-cashable items into his bag. 'I found a taxi and got back to the railway station,' Mr Beckett said. 'I tried to locate police in Shenzhen but although I got directions from a hotel it was impossible to find a police station and police I spoke to on the streets couldn't understand English.' He finally returned to Hong Kong and made a statement at the Lowu police station. 'The Hong Kong police were terrific,' he said. Last night, Mr Beckett was recovering from his ordeal. 'I've got some advice for people going to Shenzhen for a day's shopping,' he said. 'Don't go alone and never get into a cab with people you don't know.'