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Kidnapped Chinese Man Says He was Forced to Kill Woman

FILE - A security guard stands close to an electronic screen featuring a map of China.

A wealthy Chinese businessman told police that kidnappers forced him to kill a woman and then tried to blackmail him about it, officials and news reports said.

Police in Yibin city in Sichuan province said they have arrested four suspects in the case.

Police said in a statement that the man, surnamed Zhang, told officers last week that he was kidnapped on his way home. He said he was forced to take part in the killing of a woman he did not know and then was blackmailed over it, it said.

Police said they arrested the suspects a few hours later and the case is still under investigation.

Chinese media reports identified the kidnap victim as Zhang Yingqi, the wealthy chairman of Sichuan Yibin Yili Group, whose businesses include real estate and road building.

The China Daily, citing an unidentified government official in Yibin, reported Wednesday that the kidnappers threatened Zhang with a gun and got him to agree to pay them 100 million yuan ($16 million) before March. But doubtful he would pay, they then told him he would be killed if he didn't strangle a 23-year-old masseuse they had also abducted. The kidnappers filmed the killing and then released him, the newspaper said.

A man who answered the phone at Zhang's company said they had seen the media reports and had no comment.