Hong Kong, city of riches, also known for high-profile kidnapping

The most well-known kidnappings in the city’s recent history were the abductions of Li Ka-shing’s son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi (left) in 1996, and billionaire Walter Kwok Ping-sheung (centre), the former chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, in 1997. Both were carried out by notorious crime king “Big Spender” Cheung Tze-keung (right). Photos: Edward Wong, Paul Yeung, SCMP

While Hong Kong is known for its tycoons and billionaires, it is also no stranger to kidnappings, such as the one that led to a huge manhunt on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, police were still searching for six kidnappers who fled with HK$28 million in ransom money after they abducted a 29-year-old woman from a home in Sai Kung. It was the latest in a long string of high-profile kidnappings in the city’s recent history.

Probably the most well-known were the abductions of Li Ka-shing’s son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi in 1996, and billionaire Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, the former chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, in 1997. Both were carried out by notorious crime king “Big Spender” Cheung Tze-keung.

Victor Li, tied up, blindfolded and gagged, was released after a HK$1 billion ransom was paid to the abductors. Kwok was set free after paying a Cheng cohort HK$600 million after initial refusal to hand over any ransom.

In an interview with mainland media in 2013, Li Ka-shing revealed that the gangsters showed up in his residence in Deep Water Bay, demanding HK$2 billion. Li told Cheung he only had enough cash to pay HK$1 billion then, but he “can go to the bank and withdraw the rest.”

The tycoon did not file a police report and said Cheung later called him to ask how he should spend the money.

Kwok was abducted on his way home on September 26, 1997, more than one year after Li’s release. He was blindfolded and taken to a hut in the New Territories. After his refusal to call his family to prepare the ransom, Kwok was stripped to his underwear, beaten and forced into a makeshift wooden cage.

Kwok was finally released seven days into his abduction after paying HK$600 million.

In a court hearing last October, Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, Kwok’s brother, told the court that his brother developed post-traumatic stress disorder after the kidnapping and became “highly suspicious” and “paranoid”.

Cheung, the mastermind of both abductions, was executed in Guangdong in 1998. Cheung was sentenced to death by a Guangzhou court along with four other gang members.

In another high-profile abduction case, Libyan dissident Sami al-Saadi and his family were kidnapped in Hong Kong in 2004, flown to Libya and handed to authorities there.

Most recently, an Indian businessman, his lawyer and bank manager were kidnapped within hours of their arrival in the city in October, 2013, after they were lured to Hong Kong to take part in a bogus property deal.

The three men were held at gunpoint for three days by a gang armed with firearms and choppers. They were released, without paying the HK$19 million ransom demanded, after the abductors discovered they had been tailed by police.

In November of the same year, a debt-ridden Indian businessman faked his own kidnapping in Hong Kong and tried to extract a US$10,000 ransom from his family. The man was jailed for two weeks by Kowloon City Court.

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2015, 4:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 April, 2015, 5:35pm
Kathy Gao

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Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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