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I felt I was going to die’

PUBLISHED: 18:16 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:41 23 August 2010

A TERRIFIED cook says he feared for his life after a gang of masked men broke into a restaurant, tied him up, and threatened to beat him with a crowbar. The four men, wearing balaclavas, forced their way into The India Palace, next to Meopham Railway Sta

A TERRIFIED cook says he feared for his life after a gang of masked men broke into a restaurant, tied him up, and threatened to beat him with a crowbar.

The four men, wearing balaclavas, forced their way into The India Palace, next to Meopham Railway Station at 2.15am on Monday morning.

The gang ran upstairs into the staff rooms and dragged sleeping Abdul Latif, 38, out of his bed.

They tied up his legs with Christmas tree lights, and his hands were bound with a belt. One of the men then threatened to beat him with a crowbar.

Mr Latif, who speaks little English and has worked at the restaurant for the last seven years, said: "I didn't know what was happening.

"I thought it was a matter of life and death. I was pulled from my bed, I didn't know what was going on.

"I thought my life had ended. I was scared, I was the only person in the restaurant, there was no one was with me.

"The group threatened me, and tied my feet with wire, and dragged me down the stairs.

"I didn't know what to think. They then forced their way into the restaurant, one of them stayed with me. Then they threatened to hit me with a crowbar, but one of the others stopped him."

After ransacking the restaurant, the group forced their way into the till. No money had been left over night and the group fled out of the back door and over the railway bridge empty handed. A nine-inch knife was left on the bar of the restaurant, which has been handed into police.

Jahir Ali, the manager of the restaurant said: "I have been the manager here for 15 years and have never known anything like this. We have a good relationship with the community. Abdul is still shaking, he is very upset about what happened. I am just glad he is OK, it could have been so much worse. I can't believe this has happened. We are very shocked."

The incident is being investigated by British Transport Police. They want to hear from anyone that noticed anything suspicious in the area between 2 and 3am on Monday. Contact 0800 405040 quoting log number 110 of 21/4.

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