Cross-border kidnap ring busted

Police have arrested eight people linked to a local businessman being held hostage at a hotel in Shenzhen.

Staff reporter

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Police have arrested eight people linked to a local businessman being held hostage at a hotel in Shenzhen.

The 65-year-old businessman was said to have been seized by a notorious cross-border syndicate and kept for three days in February before being rescued by mainland police.

A team from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau backed by 100 other officers raided a number of locations on Monday.

They grabbed seven men and a woman aged between 27 and 62 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, false imprisonment and money laundering. It is believed the kidnapping mastermind is among the eight.

Thirty-one other suspects were arrested in the mainland in February.

According to The Standard's sister paper Sing Tao Daily, the Hong Kong suspects include several people connected with a finance company in Ginza Plaza on Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mong Kok. There are also said to be triad connections.

And police seized loan receipts, computers and HK$500,000 in cash from the company.

It is claimed the finance company promised to lend HK$100 million to the businessman, who wanted to invest in Shenzhen in September last year. The company also offered to hire consultants to conduct a feasibility report and on-site assessment in Shenzhen.

But the businessman was unaware that the supposed consultants were actually employees of the finance company. And once he arrived at the hotel with the "consultants" for the on-site assessment on February 7 he was seized and a HK$2.9 billion ransom was demanded.

Over the three days he was assaulted and not given any food. He was also forced to sign a loan receipt valued at HK$6 million. He was then told to pay HK$1 million in cash so he would be released immediately.

When the mastermind went to the hotel on February 9 mainland officers were ready to pounce and rescued the businessman. Three mainland men and a Hongkonger were arrested at the scene.

Mainland police later arrested 27 more suspects and seized over 7,000 bank cards and 60,000 loan contracts in Shenzhen. They also froze 6.2 million yuan (HK$7 million), which is believed to belong to the syndicate.

Hong Kong police said the syndicate was controlled by two brothers named Wong, who operated finance companies and intermediary operations.

And the businessman was allegedly grabbed and held after he refused to return HK$3 million he borrowed from the brothers.