A man accused of kidnapping a businessman from a golf course in Hertfordshire has claimed he was visiting the UK as a tourist.

Tianfu Guo denied conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to blackmail and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence at St Albans Crown Court.

On October 24 last year, the victim, a man in his 30s, was playing golf at Brocket Hall in Welwyn Garden City when a group of five men pointed a gun at him, hit him in the face and bundled him into a car.

He was taken to a property near Guildford in Surrey, where he was placed in a cage for 30 hours before being released. The gang also demanded that the victim pay them $15 million in bitcoin.

Aided in court by a Mandarin interpreter, Guo said he was visiting the UK for around three months and "was just a tourist".

Guo claimed he had nothing to do with the kidnap, and that had come to the UK for the purpose of sightseeing and to investigate any opportunities for work.

READ MORE: Man denies kidnapping Chinese businessman from Hertfordshire golf course

The court heard he previously worked as a fruit wholesaler and recruitment agent, and came from Xi'an to Heathrow Airport on July 9, 2023 on the recommendation of a friend.

He explained that a contact in the UK provided him with accommodation at as many as six different addresses across London.

In the run-up to the kidnapping, Guo was living in Edgware and, on the afternoon of October 24, he said he was asked to drive a man to Welwyn Garden City in an Audi Q5 car.

After dropping him off, he said he stayed in the area for several hours, before returning home.

He was then given the postcode of an address near Guildford, and at around 4.30pm, Guo collected food from the Tesco supermarket in the town, before arranging to meet the man and hand it over.

He said he left the area and headed towards Chinatown, where he was subsequently arrested an hour before the victim was released.

The court also heard that six other suspects were "believed to all be back in China".

The case continues.