Hostage, 14, may have been minutes from death

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The Independent Online

Three men have admitted charges of false imprisonment and blackmail after a 14-year-old schoolboy was kidnapped as he left a private school and held for three days.

Three men have admitted charges of false imprisonment and blackmail after a 14-year-old schoolboy was kidnapped as he left a private school and held for three days.

Detectives fear the boy, who cannot be identified but was a pupil at the King's School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, could have been minutes from death when they found him in a car with a group of armed men 50 miles from home. The boy was lured into a car as he left school on 5 November last year.

Police closed in after the captors, who asked for a £100,000 ransom, led the boy from a hotel in Barking, Essex and drove away. In the car they found him with four Malaysian men, along with a 56lb weight, 20ft of cable, rope ties, handcuffs and two kitchen knives. Officers estimated the car was five minutes from the river Thames.

Three men - Chon-Kiong Hong, 29, of no fixed address; Vui-Tshung Thien, 23, of Barking; and his brother, chef Vui-Kiun Thien, 29, of no fixed address - have admitted false imprisonment and blackmail and are to be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court next Friday.The fourth, Vui-Kiong Wong, 30, of no fixed address, was yesterday found not guilty of false imprisonment and blackmail.

The boy's parents, who own a Cambridgeshire restaurant where Mr Wong worked as a waiter, said they were "enormously relieved" the men were caught and would be punished.

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