12 May 2009

Man jailed 9 years for kidnapping Auckland girl

8:18 pm on 12 May 2009

The man who has admitted kidnapping a five-year-old Auckland girl and holding her for $500,000 ransom has been jailed for nine years.

Dequiong Deng, 26, snatched Cina Ma from outside her family's home on the North Shore in July.

He kept her partially bound and gagged for four days at a nearby house, sparking a massive police operation before she was found physically unharmed.

At the High Court in Auckland on Tuesday, Deng was sentenced to nine years in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of five-and-a-half years.

In its submissions, the Crown claimed the child she would never be the same again psychologically, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and held back a year at school. Her family has since moved overseas.

The defence said Deng, a real estate agent, committed the crime because he was more than $1 million in debt after a failed property venture.

Defence lawyers asked Justice Potter to take into account Deng's remorse and early guilty plea.

The judge declined to do so, saying the Crown's case was compelling. She added there were no mitigating factors when it came to such cruel and cowardly offending.

Outside court, Cina's father, Mark Ma, said he was disappointed with the sentence and believed Deng should have been dealt with more harshly.

Mr Ma says his daughter and family will never be the same after the ordeal.