x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Sculptor 'kidnapped and raped'

One of the two men accused of holding a Chinese woman captive for ransom faces the death penalty if found guilty.

DUBAI // Two men kidnapped a woman and held her for ransom before one of them raped her, a court heard yesterday.

The men, AM, a 32-year-old Pakistani, and his compatriot, AA, 34, were charged with kidnapping, illegal confinement, theft and threatening the woman, HY, a 34-year-old sculptor from China. AM was further charged with rape and illegal possession of alcohol.

HY had gone to the Hyatt Regency's Premiere nightclub on May 28 to meet a friend.

"I was waiting for my friend who didn't show up, so AM bought me a drink and asked me to dance," she told prosecutors at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance. "I declined to dance but we sat together and spoke."

HY said that as she was leaving, AM offered her a lift home and escorted her to a black SUV parked outside.

"There was another man in the driver's seat, and AM sat next to me." As soon as she got in the car, she said, AM beat her and tied her up.

"AA hit me on the head and AM tied my hands and blindfolded me, then gagged me."

She told prosecutors that AA drove while AM held her neck. After the car stopped, one of the men carried her over his shoulder and took her into an apartment. She said that she was left in a room and beaten with a stick until a Chinese couple entered.

The couple - who have not been apprehended - told the woman she would not be released unless she paid US$30,000 (Dh110,000) as ransom. They said she should call her family in China to get the money.

HY provided the couple with the contact details of friends and family in China, who they then called. All the requests for money were refused. She told prosecutors she continued making calls until the next morning.

Afterwards, the couple said they would allow her to leave and get the money herself. They kept her belongings, passport and work permit. They also warned her not to contact police.

Before her release, HY said that AM raped her while she was bound. He then released her and told her to return by 9pm with the money.

HY went to a friend's home and contacted the police, who found the two men.

Both men deny all the charges. AM could receive the death penalty if convicted. The court will reconvene on December 19.