Cops Foil Hong Kong Kidnapping
Mar. 17, 1999
HONG KONG (AP) _ The victim of a sensational kidnapping foiled by police was identified Wednesday as one of Hong Kong's top tycoons, according to authorities who recovered millions in ransom and arrested 12 people in the case.
The kidnapping of Chan Kwai-hung was not the first abduction of a high-flying Hong Kong entrepreneur, and the case again raised questions about the security of the territory's super-rich.
Two other high-profile kidnappings led to the executions of several Hong Kong gangsters in China last year, but that hasn't put an end to the problem.
Newspapers warned the rich to take extra precautions, but police defended their record in solving reported kidnappings.
``There is no need for the rich to fear for their personal safety,'' police Superintendent John Li said by telephone.
Chan, 66, has assets worth $128 million, according to the South China Morning Post, and was being held for $3.8 million ransom when he was found bound and gagged by police who raided the kidnapper's hide-out late Monday. Police detectives recovered the ransom money.
The suspects were ``very loosely organized'' and the kidnapping was an isolated incident prompted by ``personal greed,'' Li said.
Five suspects aged 26 to 53 arrested after the raid were released on bail Wednesday. Police charged six others _ four men and two women aged 24 and 45 _ with kidnapping, a police statement said, and will repatriate a 42-year-old illegal immigrant from China.
Kidnappings of Hong Kong's top entrepreneurs were thrust into the spotlight last year, following two abductions that netted the equivalent of $210 million in ransom for the criminals.
Hong Kong crime boss Cheung Tze-keung was executed in mainland China late last year along with four accomplices for kidnapping and gun-running in Hong Kong.