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Monday, 5 March, 2001, 12:26 GMT
Kidnap rescue drama in Macau
Macau
Macau returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1999
A prominent Portuguese lawyer, who was kidnapped in Macau last week, has been rescued in a dramatic police raid.

A crack squad armed with machine guns used dynamite to blast their way into an apartment where Jorge Neto Valente was being held.


One suspected kidnapper leapt six stories to his death while trying to escape. Two other people were detained during the dawn raid.

Mr Valente, 56, who is reported to be Macau's richest Portuguese resident, was found with a gunshot wound in his thigh and was rushed to hospital.

A medical source said it appeared he had been shot in the leg during his abduction.

Mr Valente was snatched from his car last Wednesday as he returned home.

Fake accident

Reports said he had been dragged from his black BMW by several men who faked a traffic accident.

It was Macau's highest profile kidnapping since Portugal handed the enclave back to China in December 1999, ending 450 years of colonial rule.

Mr Valente, who has lived in Macau since 1970, runs one of the territory's biggest law firms.

He is reported to have extensive property and other investments both in Macau and overseas - many of them apparently with Chinese business partners.

Mr Valente, who had been a legislator until the 1999 handover, also ran a newspaper, the Tribunal de Macau.

Gangs

The authorities have released little information about the case and it is not clear whether there was any ransom demand.

roulette wheel
Macau's economy is dependent on gambling
Macau's economy is dominated by gambling and tourism.

In the late 1990s dozens of people were killed in vicious turf wars waged by Chinese triad gangs, but the violence largely stopped after the enclave returned to China.

Like Hong Kong, the former Portuguese enclave enjoys a high degree of autonomy under a "one country, two systems" arrangement.

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See also:

20 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
China warns Macau over dissidents
18 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Macau to widen casino trade
15 Dec 99 | Asia-Pacific
Macau: The Portuguese legacy
04 May 98 | Asia-Pacific
Macau moves against gangs
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