Judge commends police after kidnapped student rescued

A judge has commended an international police operation after a wealthy student was rescued from a house in Huddersfield where he had been held captive by a criminal gang for nearly a week.

The millionaire parents of Lushui Wu were told to hand over a $2m ransom in China for his safe return, but his kidnappers were being watched by police and the 18-year-old was rescued in a raid by armed officers in January.

Mr Wu, a student in London, had his wrists and ankles bound with cables and was tied to a chair and a bed.

Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday that the terrified teenager was lured to West Yorkshire on the pretext of seeing friends and looking at possible investment properties.

But after having a meal with "friends" Qun Xue and Ting Fu Guo at a house in Manor Street, Newsome, Huddersfield, he was persuaded to smoke a cannabis cigarette which made him sleepy.

When he woke the teenager found he was bound and one of the abductors pointed a knife at him and threatened to kill him.

Tissues were forced into his mouth and tape wrapped round his head. He was then taken to a bathroom were he was tied to a chair and interrogated for details of his parents' wealth.

The kidnappers made several ransom calls to Mr Wu's parents, who run a cargo shipping business in China, but their activities were being monitored by police.

While he was held hostage Mr Wu was given little food or water and forced to urinate in a bottle. He was punched and had a screwdriver pushed down his throat.

Guo, 26, of no fixed abode, was arrested as he tried to flee the house via the roof.

His accomplice Xue, also 26, of Springdale Avenue, Thornton Lodge, Huddersfield, was arrested in a car shortly after the raid.

Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to blackmail and were each jailed for 13 years and four months.

Takeaway owner Hang Yu, 21, from London, who knew the other two, was found guilty of the same offences after a trial and was jailed for nine years. Judge Jonathan Rose said: "It is not surprising that this young Chinese student would seek and find friendship in his fellow countrymen and place his trust in them. That he was placing his trust in men who were at heart, as I find it to be in this case, ruthless and greedy is a feature which aggravates this matter.

"You Qun Xue and you Ting Fu Guo, illegally in this country with little or no means of income saw in this well-dressed, affluent, intelligent and studious young man an easy way to riches."

A pick-axe handle and a spade were found in the house and Judge Rose said they did not have any legitimate purpose there.

"One, and possibly the only explanation is that those items would be used to dig a grave for Lushui Wu should it, at some time in the future, become necessary to kill him."

Judge Rose added: "The psychological trauma caused by his detention under the circumstances I have described is as inevitable as the trauma his parents had to endure as they feared for his fate over the period of his detention not knowing whether they would see their only child alive again."

Judge Rose said the fact that the police were able to find Mr Wu was a testament to the excellent detective work of officers in West Yorkshire, London and elsewhere.

Detective Superintendent Sukhbir Singh said: "Whilst extremely rare, this was a very serious crime and a young man's life has been badly affected by the ordeal he has been put through, not to mention the anxiety and worry his parents faced.

"The return of their son gave them great confidence in West Yorkshire Police."