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Engineers sue old firms after captivity ordeal

TWO Chinese engineers held captive by Pakistani Taliban militants last year have taken their former employers to court, demanding compensation and reimbursement for medical expenses.

Engineers Zhang Guo, 30, and Long Xiaowei, 28, filed a lawsuit on June 12 against Xi'an-based Jiangbo Technology Corporation and telecom giant TZE, based in Shenzhen, a court official said.

The People's Court in Yanta District of Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, said it would hear the case on July 10.

Zhang, who suffered psychological problems after the ordeal, said Jiangbo Technology treated him as an intruder when he last visited the firm in April while it was in the midst of relocating.

"It was a very unpleasant meeting and I narrowly escaped being beaten by security guards," he said.

Jiangbo Technology sent Zhang and Long to Pakistan in May 2008 to supervise construction of TZE facilities under a labor contract with Jiangbo that was to expire when they returned to China.

The pair was abducted by Taliban militants on August 29.

Zhang escaped seven weeks later, but Long was held captive for 167 days.

Both were seriously injured.

Jiangbo Technology paid some of their medical expenses but did not renew their contracts, said Long, who said his broken ankle and fibula require a second operation.

"It's unfair for the employer to terminate my contract before I recover from a work injury and can work again," Long said.

Both claimed their employers had never offered adequate social security schemes.

"Jiangbo was supposed to buy us insurance against accidents and ailments before we left for Pakistan, but we never saw the policy," Long said.

"My medical bill has become a heavy burden."

TZE last week published a statement saying it was watching the case and urged Jiangbo to "settle its dispute with the two workers in a reasonable and legitimate manner."


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