Four unemployed Chinese men have been arrested for allegedly using toy guns and walkie-talkies to kidnap a businessman in a plot copied from a television show, local media reported on Monday.
The four were arrested on Sunday for the kidnap of Shanghai real estate executive Li Tianfu, who was taken outside his home and held for about 850,000 dollars in ransom, the Shanghai Daily reported.
The alleged ring leader Liu Yuping, a 27-year-old jewellery seller from central China's Henan province arrived in Shanghai in October with three other men but all were unable to find work, the report said.
Liu was dreading the prospect of returning home broke when he saw a television show featuring a man who moved to Shanghai and resorted to kidnapping when he could not find a job, the newspaper said.
"I thought I could earn enough money in one attempt if I copied the television show," the newspaper quoted Liu as saying.
"Me and some other men from my village looked for people driving expensive cars. I thought it was a disgrace if I went back to my hometown without earning a lot of money," Liu was quoted as saying.
"I didn't know kidnapping was a serious crime."
The gang eventually targeted Li, who was often alone in his BMW and came home late, the report said.
Armed with two toy guns, two walkie-talkies and a telescope, the gang ambushed Li outside his home on November 25 and took him to a house in nearby Zhejiang province, the report said.