“Kidnappers and police in Nathan Road gunfight,” ran a South China Morning Post headline on January 31, 2002. “A kidnapped businessman and his driver escaped unharmed after a gun battle between their captors and police in Tsim Sha Tsui yesterday,” the story continued. The kidnapping occurred at 10am, when So Chak-tong, 80, left his home in Kowloon Tong. “As he was about to get into his chauffeur-driven Lexus […] two men appeared and bundled him into a car at gunpoint,” reported the Post . “About an hour later, a call was made to the victim’s office in Central demanding a $200,000 ransom for his release,” a police officer told the paper. “At about 12.30pm, the car was spotted in the northbound lane of Nathan Road, caught in a traffic jam outside Tsim Sha Tsui police station after police switched traffic lights in the area to red,” the Post report said. Officers approached the vehicle and the kidnappers fled, shooting at their pursuers and abandoning their victims. One officer was injured as 20 shots were exchanged. A woman told the Post of her brush with a kidnapper on Austin Road. “I was having a quarrel on my mobile phone with my husband when the man bumped into me […] when I heard the sirens of police vehicles, I saw extreme panic on the man’s face […] I realised he might be a culprit.” Another Post report detailed how the suspects escaped, “but three men – a mainlander and two Macau residents aged 20 to 30 – were arrested later on board a ferry about to leave for Macau”. Speaking about his ordeal, So said, “The two kidnappers treated me politely and I didn’t suffer during the whole incident. I’m fine. When they started smoking I asked them to lower the window and they stopped smoking.” The Macau residents were released on bail. Guangdong factory worker Lai Kong-hung, 27, was sentenced to 16 years in jail after pleading guilty to one count of forcibly taking a person with the intent to procure a ransom and two counts of shooting a firearm to avoid arrest.