Sun, Nov 25, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Police retrieve six alleged kidnappers from Xiamen

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Six Taiwanese citizens who allegedly kidnapped an architect from Taiwan during his visit to Hainan, China, early last month were brought to Taiwan by police on Thursday, sources at the Criminal Investigation Bureau said.

The bureau sent a 21-member mission, including two officials from the Straits Exchange Foundation, departed from Shuitou Port (水頭碼頭), Kinmen, on Thursday morning for Xiamen in Fujian Province to retrieve the six Taiwanese men from Chinese police, who had detained the group since Oct. 22.

FIRST OF ITS KIND

The trip was the first of its kind, in which bureau officials traveled directly to China to pick up Taiwanese criminals via the Three Small Links between Kinmen and Xiamen since Taiwan opened the cross-strait shipping services nearly seven years ago.

The mission escorted the six from Xiamen back to Taiwan under the Kinmen Agreement signed by Red Cross societies from both sides of the strait in 1991.

CASINO SET-UP

According to bureau officials, the Tainan-based architect, who is surnamed Chen, had traveled to Hainan on Oct. 6 to do research for his job.

He gambled at a Hainan casino, losing 2 million yuan (US$270,000), in what investigators said was a set-up.

Unable to pay the amount, Chen was kidnapped and held for ransom. The kidnappers contacted his family in Tainan and demanded NT$7 million (US$217,000).

Chen was freed after his family paid the ransom.

TRAVEL COMPANIONS

After he returned to Taiwan, police arrested two women who had traveled with Chen on his trip to Hainan.

After questioning the women, the police arrested three men in Taipei and learned that six additional Taiwanese men were involved in the crime and were hiding in Hainan. Among these, Chao Yu-chi (趙玉琪) was allegedly the mastermind.

The Chinese Public Security Bureau arrested the six men and notified Taiwanese authorities of their detention.

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