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Dentist escapes kidnappers at toll booth

    Staff at a highway toll station in Shandong Province came to the rescue of a Shanghai dentist, who was kidnapped from his clinic but managed to give his abductors a slip when their car stopped at the toll booth.

    One kidnapper, identified as Liu Xiaobing, has already been arrested by police — on robbery charges, not kidnapping, according to the Baoshan District People’s Procuratorate, while the main suspect, identified as Wang Dachuan, is still at large. The information was released yesterday though the incident happened some months ago.

    According to the procuratorate, both Liu and Wang come from Shandong and planned to start a vegetable vending business in Shanghai. To raise the 150,000 yuan (US$22,915) booth rental fee, Wang planned to blackmail a Shanghai acquaintance, dentist Li Xin.

    Liu visited Li’s clinic on September 20, claiming to know Wang, and soon started to pick on the dentist deliberately. During their dispute, Liu called Wang to the clinic as planned.

    A ‘drunk’ Wang arrived at the clinic and started a fight with Li. Wang and Liu then tied up Li and sealed his mouth with tape before driving to Liu’s rented house in a borrowed van.

    They robbed 6,000 yuan in cash from Li and withdrew 10,000 yuan from his bank card. Li then gave his car to the two suspects, who planned to take Li back to Shandong, saying they would only release him after he recovers from the injury he picked up during the fight so as to avoid suspicion.

    They drove Li’s car and left Shanghai at 10pm on September 21. Six hours later, the car reached Shandong’s Lusu toll station. Li found a chance to escape when they queued in front of the toll gate. Unable to foil Li’s escape, Liu and Wang drove away from the toll station.

    With help from toll station staff, Li called up his son, who came to fetch his father back and reported to police.