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Kidnapped engineers sue former employer

TWO engineers who were held captive by Pakistani Taliban militants a year ago say their employer had not paid any compensation and had terminated their employment contracts.

Zhang Guo, 29, and Long Xiaowei, 28, filed a lawsuit on June 12 at a court in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, yesterday's Legal Daily reported.

The two were sent to Pakistan last May by the Xi'an-based Jiangbo technology company to work on a subcontract there for ZTE Corp, China's largest publically traded telecommunications equipment manufacturer.

They were kidnapped along with a Pakistani driver and a guard in August while returning to their guesthouse.

They escaped from the house where they were being held in mid-October when the guards were distracted. Zhang was able to get away and eventually returned to China. But Long fell from a roof, injuring his ankle and was recaptured.

Long was finally released on February 15 this year.

They were made jobless after they returned home, when Jiangbo ruled that their contracts had expired when they finished work in Pakistan and returned to China.

But the two said the cancelation was illegal. According to China's labor contract law, a contract should not be canceled if employees are not completely compensated for injuries in the workplace.

The two are asking Jiangbo and ZTE to pay their wages, medical fees, a welfare package and compensation.

"Before we returned, ZTE's Pakistani office representatives promised to send staff over to handle our living and medical problems, but so far nobody has contacted us for this," the two said.

Jiangbo paid Zhang his salary for October after he returned to China. But the company refused to cover his losses in the hostage drama, including the loss of cash, camera and mobile phone.

Zhang suffers mental problems, his wife told the Legal Daily. With no money for treatment, he has to stay at home with his wife working to support the family.

Long is still being treated in hospital.

The two said they have never received compensation from the insurance the company should have bought. They also accused it of not arranging security training for them.

Jiangbo declined to comment on the case.


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