The son of a Chinese businessman who was kidnapped and murdered on a trip to Dubai has paid tribute to his "gentleman" father after a court awarded his family Dh1.2 million ($326,750) in compensation five years after his death.
Hong Xi Luo, who was in his sixties, was encouraged to travel to Dubai by a "trusted" business partner in August 2017, a woman now aged 52, to explore a financial opportunity.
She travelled with the victim from New Zealand, having already put plans in motion for a criminal gang, including her son, to come to the emirate to ambush him as part of an elaborate kidnapping plot.
Luo was taken from his hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road before being held captive in a villa in Jumeirah Village Circle.
He was subjected to a sustained assault and robbed of Dh145,000 through a series of bank transfers before his body was buried in a remote desert area in Abu Dhabi.
His son, Jie Luo, now 34, received a voice message claiming his father had been kidnapped and travelled to Dubai to raise the alarm with police.
An investigation was launched, with officers discovering CCTV footage that showed the victim leaving the hotel along with the woman and four men in a Land Cruiser.
Police tracked the car to an address in JVC.
Four members of the gang, including the woman and her son, were arrested. The other man remains at large.
This week, Dubai Civil Court awarded the family Dh1.2m in compensation.
“My father was a gentleman, patient and liked to help people," Mr Jie said.
"He liked to help all friends and family. He built a property for my grandparents, took care of them and was responsible for all their needs.
"He visited them every week, although he was one of four sons and a daughter, but he was my grandmother’s favourite.
“My grandmother fell very sad after his death and she passed away one year later.
“It was very difficult for me, my mother and for all of my family. The time after his passing was very difficult for my uncles and grandparents.
“I knew the woman who planned the crime, she was my father’s business partner.
“The two were doing business together and I saw her few times before they stopped doing business in 2016.
“In 2017 my father told me that she called him about a new business and that they would be going to Dubai for it. He had no reason to not trust her.”
Son says justice was done
In 2019, the woman, her son, and three other men, all from China, were convicted of kidnap, murder and theft by Dubai Criminal Court.
They were sentenced to life in prison, to be followed by deportation.
Dubai's Appeal and Cessation courts upheld the verdict in 2020.
“The court’s verdict stated that an amount of Dh200,000, which is part of the compensation, is for the excruciating pain the man endured while being brutally attacked and for the betrayal he must have felt from his partner,” said Dr Hasan Elhais, legal consultant from Al Rowaad Advocates, which represented the family.
“We filed the civil case because the man’s family were deprived of their provider and in a very vicious way.”
As well as the substantial sum, those convicted must also pay an annual 5 per cent interest rate.
“If not paid until after the convicts’ release from prison, the accumulated interest rate amount would increase the sum to Dh2.4m in total,” Dr Elhais said.
He said court records proved the woman planned the crime and conspired with the other men to kidnap and kill the man and steal his money.
“The pair were supposed to stay in the emirate for a few days then board a plane to Portugal," Dr Elhais said.
Officers found out that all of the culprits fled the country three days after the incident.
Three of them were arrested after landing in Dubai on a transit flight.
Forensic reports found he died from several head, chest and back fractures after he was assaulted with solid objects.