Israeli Caicos captives set free
The Turks and Caicos premier said mediation was under way
Several of 15 Israelis held captive by Chinese workers in the Caribbean Caicos Islands have been freed, the Israeli foreign ministry has said.
But at least six are still being held in the row over unpaid wages, it said.
Work on the resort the workers were building has been frozen because of the collapse of Lehman Brothers bank.
The Turks and Caicos Islands premier told the Associated Press the Israelis were not being held hostage and mediation was taking place.
"They are in a compound and the Chinese workers do not let people in or out," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Aviv Shir-On.
"They cannot leave as they like, so we look at it as a hostage situation," he said, but confirmed that those being held had access to food and water.
Nine people were freed on Thursday on the island of West Caicos, Israel's foreign ministry said, but it was not clear that all of them were Israeli.
There have been reports that four Romanians were also being held.
The Israelis work for Ashtrom Engineering and Construction, an Israeli-based company which was managing the construction of the luxury resort.
The island can only be reached by boat, and the Chinese workers are reported to be blocking the only marina.
"We don't really know how this will end," one of the captives told Haaretz newspaper.
"For the time being, we are here inside a building, waiting patiently. Our lives are not in danger, but no one knows how things will develop."