Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 1 News List

Kidnapped HK tycoon rescued; suspects quizzed

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Tsai Wen-li, left, and Tsai Kuang-chung, right, the suspected ringleaders in the alleged kidnapping of Hong Kong oil tycoon Wong Yuk-kwan, are transferred together with other suspects to a secure facility in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

Hong Kong tycoon Wong Yuk-kwan (黃煜坤) was said to be in good condition on Tuesday night after a police raid on a house in Yunlin County freed him more than five weeks after he was allegedly abducted in New Taipei City. Authorities said that several suspects are being questioned over the incident.

Wong, chairman of Hong Kong-based Pearl Oriental Oil Group (東方明珠集團), who is also known as Wong Kwan, was seized by two men on Sept. 20 as he was walking to his Sindian District (新店) residence and bundled into a black sedan.

However, his family did not receive a ransom demand until Oct. 17, when they were told to pay HK$70 million (US$9.03 million) in bitcoins, although they were later told to deliver the ransom in cash in Hong Kong, authorities said.

Wong’s wife, who is Taiwanese, had reportedly only managed to collect HK$11 million as of Friday last week, because her husband’s assets were frozen by Hong Kong authorities after he was indicted in 2013, along with another Pearl Oriental Oil executive and two more people, on fraud and money-laundering charges in connection with the purchase of an oil field in the US.

Police said no ransom had been paid.

Wong, 67, was found manacled, blindfolded and hidden in a small room in a ramshackle house, where all the windows had been sealed with black cloth, police said.

Taipei’s Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital yesterday said he was in good condition. Police said he suffered cuts, bruises and cigarette burns on his face and other parts of his body.

Police said 15 suspects have been arrested, including Siwei Village (溪尾村) Warden Tsai Mao-tien (蔡茂典) and two of the ringleaders of the alleged kidnapping: Tsai Wen-li (蔡文力) and Tsai Kuang-chung (才廣忠).

Those three, along with another suspect, Wu Chin-wang (吳金旺), have been detained incommunicado.

Three other suspects were taken for questioning at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office.

Criminal investigation police said Hong Kong triad gangsters were most likely the masterminds behind the kidnapping, which they believe might be linked to Wong’s financial disputes and court case in Hong Kong.

Police officials said Wong had reportedly been put under surveillance by triad members after he jumped bail in Hong Kong and flew to Taiwan in February, reportedly for medical treatment.

Two of the people indicted alongside Wong in Hong Kong were convicted earlier this year and sentenced to jail terms. Wong’s case was due to go to court in late May.

A police official yesterday said that Wong entered Taiwan legally, since he has family members in the nation, and there is no international arrest warrant out for him.

Media reports said Wong arrived in Hong Kong from China when he was 18 years old. After finding employment as a chef, he worked his way up to a senior position before investing in stock and real estate. His fortune reportedly began with a hotel deal that earned him HK$1 million.

Additional reporting by AFP

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