BEIJING (AFP) - Eight men who kidnapped a Hong Kong fashion heiress and held her in a cave as they negotiated a multimillion-dollar ransom were sentenced to up to 15 years in prison on Friday (July 29), a mainland court said.
Ms Queenie Rosita Law, granddaughter of late textiles tycoon Law Ting Pong, who founded the Bossini clothing chain, was abducted from her house in Hong Kong in April last year.
The 29-year-old was held in a mountain cave for four days before family members paid a ransom of HK$28 million (S$4.9 million) for her release. Most of the gang fled to mainland China afterwards, where they were captured.
Six of the plaintiffs were found guilty of abduction, while two others were charged with disguising or concealing illegally obtained gains, a Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court spokesman told AFP.
Ringleader You Dunkui was sentenced to 15 years for kidnapping, with the others being given terms ranging from 13 years to just under two, he said.
Another gang member, Zheng Xingwang, was sentenced to 12 years by a Hong Kong court last month, having admitted to forcibly taking or detaining a person with intent to procure a ransom.
Ms Law and her boyfriend were asleep at her house in the quiet coastal area of Clearwater Bay when a gang of six mainland Chinese men raided the house, tied them up and taped over their mouths, Zheng's Hong Kong trial heard.
They stole jewellery and cash worth about HK$3 million from two safes, after forcing Ms Law to give them the combinations.
She was tied to one of the gang members, who carried her on foot to a hillside cave 90 minutes' walk away, while the boyfriend was told to notify her father of the ransom demand.
The Hong Kong police embarked on a massive operation to hunt down the suspected kidnappers, deploying hundreds of heavily armed officers, helicopters and marine vessels, and setting up roadblocks.
Almost all of the money has been recovered, including some buried on hillsides near the cave where she was taken.
Hong Kong has low crime rates, but has seen some high-profile kidnappings, including the abduction of one of city tycoon Li Ka Shing's sons in 1996, who was released after his father reportedly paid a HK$1 billion ransom.