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Robber denies holding woman, 96, hostage

A MAN accused of holding two women, one a 96-year-old, hostage after robbing a convenience store told a court he had only been trying to hide from police.

Ming Wei, a 20-year-old Hubei Province native, said he had broken into their first-floor apartment in a panic while trying to escape.

After an hour, police broke in and detained Ming. The two women were released and both were unhurt.

Ming admitted robbery at the Zhabei District People's Court yesterday but denied a charge of kidnapping.

The court heard that Ming had threatened an assistant at the C-store convenience store on Wenxi Road with a knife on December 4 last year. He made off with 900 yuan (US$132) in cash and 100 yuan worth of food. Police assistants heard shouts for help and gave chase until Ming broke into the apartment.

In a written statement read out in court the elderly woman, surnamed Yang, said Ming had not let them speak but didn't threaten them with his knife or try to hurt them.

"I was thinking of surrender when the police came in and caught me," Ming told the court.

His lawyer said the robbery was motivated by hunger.

The court didn't announce a verdict yesterday.


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