HK tycoon kidnapped by cross-Straits triad group

Updated: 2015-10-29 07:55

By Shadow Li in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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Taiwan police have arrested 15 local suspects in connection with the crime

A rescued Hong Kong businessman was believed to have been abducted by a crime syndicate comprising gangsters from Hong Kong and both sides of the Taiwan Straits, Taiwan media reported on Wednesday.

This was after police in Taiwan arrested 15 local suspects in connection with the kidnapping.

Wong Yuk-kwan, the chairman of Hong Kong-listed company Pearl Oriental Oil, was reported to have been rescued on Tuesday after being held for 38 days, Taiwan police confirmed on Wednesday morning.

Six of those arrested were reported to be gangsters from 10,000-strong Bamboo Union, one of the world's largest triads based in Taiwan.

Taiwan media said the police believed more people were involved and the masterminds were still at large. Police also believe Hong Kong triads were behind the crime - along with their counterparts in Taiwan and the mainland.

The 68-year-old veteran businessman was found at a deserted house in Yunlin county in central Taiwan. The police arrested two men during the rescue. Wong was reported to have been forcibly bundled into a black van by two men near his home in New Taipei City on Sept 20.

On Oct 15, Pearl Oriental Oil received an e-mail, demanding a ransom of HK$70 million in exchange for Wong's safe return. The kidnappers also demanded that the ransom be paid in Hong Kong on Oct 23. A video with Wong holding a newspaper from that day was attached to the e-mail.

HK tycoon kidnapped by cross-Straits triad group

But the e-mail was initially thought to be trash by Wong's family members. They ignored it until a third e-mail was sent with the headline, "no joking".

Wong was held in three different places to prevent police finding him. He had bruises all over his body when rescued and is currently in hospital in Taiwan.

The police said Wong kept a low profile in Taiwan and few knew his identity. The fact that the kidnappers could precisely locate and kidnap him might indicate they were from Hong Kong or even knew him.

Wong was on bail at the time of his kidnapping, and granted permission by Hong Kong authorities to travel to Taiwan for medical reasons. This is after he was accused of conspiracy to defraud in Hong Kong, a charge which arose from his company's HK$ 500 million purchase of an oilfield in the United States.

He missed most of the pre-trial for health reasons and was allowed to stay in Taiwan. The case was heard in Hong Kong on Wednesday. It is also scheduled to be discussed in the High Court on Dec 9.

Pearl Oriental Oil issued a statement on Wednesday saying Wong has already contacted the company's management about the kidnapping.

Wong said that after a medical check-up, he would resume his duties as chairman and executive director as soon as possible.

Hong Kong police's Organized Crime and Triad Bureau was reported to have assisted in the investigation.

(HK Edition 10/29/2015 page7)