Indians freed after kidnapping in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AFP) - Three Indians on a business trip to Hong Kong have been freed following an international operation after being held at gunpoint for three days by kidnappers, reports said.

The trio arrived in the southern Chinese city Friday but were abducted by five to six south Asians on Saturday after the deal took a wrong turn, media reports said.

For the next three days, they were held in the city's rural Sheung Shui district guarded by men armed with a gun-like object and large knives.

A ransom demand of HK$19 million (S$3 million) was made to their families in India over the weekend.

"The victims were threatened and held by five to six south Asian men armed with choppers and what appeared to be a pistol," a police source told the South China Morning Post.

In a rare move, Hong Kong police sought help from Indian authorities, the Post said.

A 27-year-old man of Indian descent was being held in Hong Kong and another man aged 28 was arrested in India while police were hunting the remaining gang members, it said.

The Indian consulate said it was aware of the kidnapping and the subsequent release of the three men but could not provide further information.

Hong Kong police had no immediate information.

Indian media reported the three were in Hong Kong in relation to a land deal.

The Post said on Wednesday that details of the international operation to free them were not disclosed, but it was understood the ransom was not paid.

They were reportedly set free Monday and were now under police protection.