West Caicos English Cottages
BY HERB KEINON
Approximately 20 Israeli citizens were being held hostage Thursday by Chinese construction workers on the Island of West Caicos in the British-owned Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the Chinese group was working under the Israeli supervisors building a vacation resort for a construction company called Ashtrom, which discontinued its project on the island as a result of the financial meltdown.
Apparently, the workers were dismissed after the collapse of Lehman Bros. Investors Bank in the United States.
When the workers were told to go home they each demanded a sum of $15,000, which they had paid contractors in China in order to take part in the project.
On Thursday evening Channel 10 reported that Ashtrom had instructed its Israeli employees to pay the Chinese workers.
The Finance Ministry said that it was monitoring the situation via Israel’s Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Amos Radian.
Radian, for his part, called the incident a “strange story” and detailed the actions that the embassy had taken in order to aid the release of the hostages.
“We contacted the British Consulate,” he told Channel 10. “As you know, this island is not within the jurisdiction of the Israeli ambassador. The British Consulate contacted the governor of the island, who was unaware of the incident. I told Israeli authorities of our activities and I hope that we will be receiving information in the coming hours regarding efforts to free the hostages.”
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