A taxi driver abducted by three men who escaped from jail in Santa Ana and held him captive for several days has filed a $2 million claim against Orange County.
Long Hoang Ma, 71, filed a claim with the clerk of the county Board of Supervisors, signed Feb. 16. Such a claim is necessary before Ma can file a lawsuit against the county.
“I was kidnapped and almost murdered by the escaped prisoners,” Ma's brief claim form stated.
Ma was abducted Jan. 22 by three men who had cut their way out of their cell and rappelled down the side of the Central Men’s Jail earlier that day: Bac Duong, 43; Hossein Nayeri, 37; and Jonathan Tieu, 20.
The men took Ma’s taxi to a Target store in Rosemead, and then Duong held a gun to Ma’s ribs and told him the cab driver was coming with them, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department captain said.
He was with the escapees when they learned — watching KTLA — that there was a manhunt for them, Ma told KTLA through a translator.
It was then he realized how much danger he was in. He thought he would die, he said.
Over the next few days, the group of four men traveled in two vehicles to San Jose, holing up in a motel room. Eventually, Duong and Nayeri fought physically over Ma’s fate, arguing over whether the older man should be killed.
Ma, who speaks few words of English, told the Los Angeles Times that he could understand little of the conversation. Duong explained to him what was happening.
Duong and Ma left together, driving back to Southern California while the other men were out.
Ma dropped Duong off to contact the Sheriff's Department at a friend's automotive business on Jan. 29, and Duong turned himself in to responding deputies.
It was only when Ma turned on his car and drove away that he realized he was still alive, he said.
Nayeri and Tieu were taken into custody in San Francisco the following day.
In his filing against the county, Ma claimed severe emotional distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and “fear of death due to horrific events” of Jan. 22. He claimed damages worth $2 million.
He is being represented by a Fountain Valley attorney.