x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Chinese gang 'kidnapped and threatened to behead' masseuses

Two masseuses were abducted, threatened with beheading and held for a Dh25,000 ransom by five Chinese men, a court heard yesterday.

DUBAI // Two masseuses were abducted, threatened with beheading and held for a Dh25,000 ransom by five Chinese men, a court heard yesterday. The men stand accused of carrying out the attack on a 42-year-old Chinese national, ZY, and her friend in August of last year. ZY told the court her ordeal began when she received a phone call requesting her services as a masseuse. She and her friend, who was not identified, then took a taxi to the China Cluster at International City. When they arrived, a man got out of a car with tinted windows and grabbed ZY by the throat, she said.

The man then placed his hand over her friend's mouth and held her at knife point, ordering them not to resist, the court heard. The two were then threatened with beheading. ZY said she offered the defendants Dh10,000 to let them go, but the kidnappers demanded Dh25,000. ZY's husband in China deposited the money in the Chinese bank account of one of the defendents and sent a receipt by fax. However, Chinese authorities blocked withdrawal of the funds after the husband informed local police. The defendants, identified as ST, 30, WT, 29, SS, 22, CL, 21 and YZ, 32, face kidnap and theft charges at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. Prosecutors say ST and WT have given confessions. YZ is being tried in his absence. All four of those in court denied the charges.

A Dubai police officer told the court that the defendants were also under investigation in connection with seven other kidnappings. They were arrested after ST was caught in a sting by the CID. The defendants will appear in court again on August 22. newsdesk@thenational.ae