Sat, Nov 27, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Slaying of family shocks business community in China

RISING TOLL The killings bring the number of slain businesspeople to 72 since 1991, according to the Straits Exchange Foundation's statistics

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

A Taiwanese businessman, his pregnant wife, their six-year-old daughter and a nanny were killed in Guangdong Province, Chinese media reported yesterday.

The bodies of Chang Chien Jung-kun (張簡榮昆) and his family were found Thursday afternoon by decorators working near their home in Dongguan city.

The workers saw blood on the doorstep and alerted police, said Guangzhou-based newspaper Xin Kuai Bao. The report said the bodies were discovered laying in pools of blood, but did not say how they died.

Taiwan Businessmen Association of Dongguan vice president Hsieh Ching-yuan (謝慶遠) said that the Dongguan police had arrested a man from Anhui Province yesterday afternoon in connection with the murders. Hsieh said there must have been several people involved in the killings.

According to association secretary-general Chao Wei-nan (趙維南), Chang Chien was about 40 years old and manufactured women's accessories. He said the murdered man was generally very friendly and so he doubted that the killings had been driven by personal motives.

While the slayings are a grave reminder of the risks of doing business in China, there were, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. Just last month, businessman Hsu Shih-chieh (許世杰) was discovered dead in the trunk of his car. The dismembered body of Ho Ching-sheng (何進陞) was found last November in Guangdong Province. A businessman and his family were also slain in Shanghai in June last year.

According to the Straits Exchange Foundation's records, 72 Taiwanese businesspeople have been murdered in China since 1991 (when the foundation was started), with eight cases so far this year. Those figures, however, only account for the slain businessman or businesswoman, not the family members or others.

An increasing number of busi-nesspeople have also gone missing in China. Thirty-four have been listed as missing so far this year, the same number for all of last year. In 2002, 26 went missing and 15 disappeared in 2001, compared to 11 in 1999.

The foundation oversees Tai-wanese business activities in China in the absence of a formal trade office in that country.

The foundation issued a statement yesterday calling on Chinese authorities to protect the investment rights of Taiwanese businesspeople. It said a formal agreement should be signed to ensure the safety of investors.

Given the unlikelyhood that any such agreement will be signed in the near future, Dongguan-based Chang Han-wen (張漢文) said that the latest killings shows that the Taiwanese business community needs to learn to be better prepared for risks.

"We need to be able to defend ourselves. He [Chang Chien] put himself in danger by going out and renting a house on his own," Chang, the honorary president of the Taiwan Businessmen Association of Dongguan, told the Taipei Times.

Chao noted that the Chang Chien's family had recently moved into the home, which was in a sparsely occupied neighborhood.

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