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Kung fu kidnappers arrested
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Four kung fu players who allegedly kidnapped a Taiwan couple and robbed them of property valued at 2.5 million yuan (US$352,113) have been arrested in Shanghai.

Minhang District prosecutors charged Shao Fei, Shen Yongtao, Qiao Tianchuan and Hu Donggui, all from Henan Province, with robbery.

The victim surnamed Wei, 43, a Taiwan businessman, opened a chain of cafes in the city in January 2004. He soon became acquainted with a frequent customer who often came with Hu, his bodyguard.

Hu, 23, told Wei that he had learned kung fu in a temple and came to the city to look for a job. He often helped Wei to do some physical labor and Wei also bought him gifts and helped pay his rent.

In addition to running cafes, Wei also had fish breeding and carpentry businesses. He often negotiated business involving millions of yuan in front of Hu, so Hu believed Wei was wealthy.

On November 5, 2007, Shao, who used to practise kung fu with Hu, visited him. He said he wanted to do business in the city and asked Hu to introduce him to a rich businessman. Hu mentioned Wei, saying he was a real big boss.

Shao decided to rob Wei and threatened Hu to make him join in the scheme. A combination of Shao's threats and bribes eventually made Hu agree. Shao also called Shen and Qiao to the city for help, prosecutors said.

Shao ordered Hu to direct them to Wei's cafe and residence and then let him go, promising to reward him.

On December 8 last year, when Wei and his wife left the cafe, the three suspects allegedly kidnapped them using toy guns and took them to Kunshan, Jiangsu Province.

Shao took four bank cards from Wei's wife and forced her to reveal the numbers. He and Shen drew 910,000-yuan cash out with the cards and went back to Shanghai. They also stole 80,000 yuan in cash and jewelry valued at more than one million yuan, including Rolex and Tiffany watches and diamond ornaments from Wei's home, according to prosecutors.

After they returned to Kunshan, Wei again allegedly forced Wei's wife to draw 200,000 yuan from the bank and then released her. The suspects then drove back to Henan. Shen got 150,000 yuan and Qiao got 50,000 yuan.

The victims waited a month before reporting the matter because Shao had threatened to kill them if they called the police. But they eventually decided to go to the authorities.

The police caught up with the three suspects in Henan and arrested them. Hu was caught later in Shanghai.

(Shanghai Daily, March 14, 2008)

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