20 September 2019
Police officers escort a man (center, with face covered) suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of a tycoon's daughter on May 5. Photo: Reuters
Police officers escort a man (center, with face covered) suspected of involvement in the kidnapping of a tycoon's daughter on May 5. Photo: Reuters

Unanswered questions in HK$28 million kidnapping case

The high-profile kidnapping case that unfolded last week was both puzzling and mind-boggling. There were too many details that didn’t seem to add up, making one wonder whether there were some untold stories behind it.

The incident took place in the early morning of April 25, when six burglars seized Queenie Rosita Law, granddaughter of Bossini founder Law Ting-pong, from her mansion on Clear Water Bay Road after taking more than HK$2 million in cash and valuables.

Shortly after that, they called her parents and demanded HK$40 million for her release. Following negotiations, the ransom was reduced to HK$28 million.

Her father reported the case to the police, who immediately embarked on a massive operation to hunt down the culprits.

However, the kidnappers somehow managed to flee the scene after having collected the ransom money. The police explained that since the safety of the victim was given top priority, they decided stay at a distance while the gang collected the money.

There is only one roadway leading to the Fei Ngo Shan area — where Law was hidden after her abduction and the gang collected the ransom money. The police would have easily tracked them down if it had lain an ambush at the end of the road.

In fact, the roadblocks set up by the police across the city after the kidnappers had fled were nothing but a publicity stunt, an attempt to create the impression that they were working seriously on the case.

It would also have been difficult for the kidnappers to escape on foot from the scene unnoticed since police had surrounded the entire area.

So what really happened that night?

Law later held a press conference to tell the public she was in good spirits and physically intact. She also confirmed that the kidnappers freed her after her parents paid the ransom.

But she didn’t express any gratitude to the police at all, suggesting that the police might not have been really helpful in securing her release.

Moreover, what really boggles the mind is that five of the six kidnappers managed to flee the city and go back to the mainland unnoticed, indicating a serious malfunction in our border control system.

Perhaps the most puzzling thing is why Zheng Xing-huang, the prime suspect who was arrested, didn’t flee Hong Kong, given that he was most familiar with the situation in the city.

When all of his five accomplices were captured by mainland authorities, it was discovered that the ransom money was gone, and it was rumored that two more suspects were still on the run.

Up to this point it remains unclear whether there were six or eight kidnappers, and whether the two suspects still at large were the true masterminds, while the other six were just the ones who did the job.

Why would they give up the HK$28 million and hand it over to the two accomplices who were still on the run? Why would they be so stupid?

Do those two accomplices on the run really exist? Is the money already in the hands of people other than the kidnappers?

Over the past few months Hong Kong has witnessed several high-profile crimes committed by mainlanders, and with the exception of Zheng Xing-huang, all the suspects of these crimes either succeeded in fleeing the city or were arrested by mainland authorities.

Since there is no extradition agreement between Hong Kong and the mainland, there is no way we can find out who these people really are, let alone bring them to justice.

After the kidnapping case was cracked, the two leading pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong immediately praised the police for their efficiency and competence and mocked local business tycoons for hiring too many bodyguards.

The fact is, unfortunately, law and order in Hong Kong is falling apart as a result of the rapid decline in the professionalism of our police force.

On the other hand, with more links established between Hong Kong and the mainland, and mainlanders increasingly feeling the pinch of economic slowdown, one can expect a surge in the number of cross-border crimes similar to the kidnapping of Law.

Let’s not forget that the spate of armed robberies committed by mainlanders in Hong Kong back in the ’80s was a direct result of Deng Xiaoping’s decision to reduce the size of the People’s Liberation Army by a million.

As the wealth gap on the mainland widens, and if the economic slowdown continues to deepen, it is almost sure that Hong Kong will become an easy target for mainland criminals.

The article first appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 13.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Queenie Rosita Law, granddaughter of Bossini founder Law Ting-pong, holds a press conference after her abduction and release. She didn’t express any gratitude to the police at all. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist