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Tue, Feb 13, 2001 - Page 2 News List

Hong Kong court jails kidnappers of star's son

REUTERS , HONG KONG

A Hong Kong court sentenced three local men to between 10 and 12 years in jail yesterday for kidnapping the son of Taiwan actress and director Sylvia Chang (張艾嘉).

Leung Man-kwong (梁文廣), 22, Tsang Yiu-tung (曾耀東), 20, and Yuen Lee-man (袁理文), 20, pleaded guilty to abducting nine-year-old Oscar while he was on his way to school in Hong Kong last July and holding him hostage for six days.

The court did not give the surname of the boy, whose mother lives in the territory and is well known in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The attention given to the case gripped Hong Kong last year and aroused concerns among celebrities about their personal safety and that of their families.

Chang, 45, has starred in more than 70 films including Eat Drink Man Woman (飲食男女), by internationally acclaimed director Lee Ang (李安). She has also directed a handful of movies with her latest production, Tempting Heart (心動), released in 1999 in Hong Kong.

Tsang, identified as the mastermind of the crime, will spend 12 years behind bars while his accomplices will be jailed for 10 years.

The men made 15 calls to Oscar's family and at first demanded a ransom of HK$15 million (US$1.9 million). The sum was later negotiated down to HK$8 million.

During the ransom negotiations, the kidnappers ferried Oscar from one hotel to another by hiding him in a suitcase.

The saga ended when police intercepted two of the kidnappers outside a hotel while they were in possession of the suitcase. Oscar was found inside, blindfolded but unhurt.

No ransom was ever paid.

Heavily in debt and out of work, Tsang came up with the idea of kidnapping the son of the movie star and her businessman husband 18 months after he had done construction work for the couple, the court heard.

High Court Judge Louis Tong (湯寶臣) said although Oscar was not physically injured, the experience had a psychological impact on him.

Calling the case "premeditated, well-planned and carefully executed," the judge rejected defense arguments that the trio should be given lenient sentences because the boy was never physically abused.

The judge also commended Chang for being brave and reporting the case to police.

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