London women 'unable' to leave China

  • 26 August 2013
  • From the section London

Two women from London have said a dispute over slippers has left them unable to leave a Chinese city.

Esther Jubril-Badmos, 48, and Mary Idowu, 59, claim a deal to buy 20 pairs of slippers in Guangzhou, south China, resulted in a violent dispute.

The pair said they were assaulted by store staff, but when they reported the incident they were detained by police.

The women were not charged, but because they overstayed their visas they are unable to leave the country.

They were detained by police in the city for 38 days and said the delay had left them in legal limbo.

"I just want to go home to my baby," said Ms Jubril-Badmos, who has a five-year-old daughter in the UK.

"My health is suffering. I am depressed and scared to leave the hotel."

No charges

Ms Jubril-Badmos and Ms Idowu arrived in Guangzhou on 16 June.

Ms Jubril-Badmos, a small business owner, paid 500 yuan (£50) as a deposit to buy 20 pairs of slippers from a shoe store in the city.

They returned to pick up the shoes on 21 June, but they claim they were offered a different design.

Ms Jubril-Badmos said she refused to take the shoes as she was concerned they could be seized by British customs officials as counterfeit goods.

She claims when she asked for her deposit back the women were beaten by four employees of the store.

After going to the police in Guangzhou to report the incident, the pair were detained for 38 days.

The women were not formally charged as Chinese prosecutors declined to file criminal charges, but they paid compensation to the shoe store in order to avoid civil charges.

A British consular official said they were aware of the case and the two women were receiving assistance.

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