Policy chaos pushes boss over the edge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 January, 2005, 12:00am

A Shanxi tycoon facing financial difficulties jumped to his death on New Year's Day, partly due to frequent changes in government policies, a report said yesterday.

Zhao Enlong was chairman of the Shanxi Xinlong Rare Earth Magnets Co, which was experiencing difficulties, China National Radio quoted police in Yuncheng as saying.

He jumped from the fourth floor of his office building and was taken to hospital by his driver, but was later confirmed dead.

Zhao's death has sparked debate in Yuncheng, where Zhao's company was based, as his company's assets were valued at 380 million yuan and he was regarded as a successful entrepreneur. The 52-year-old also ran biochemical, foreign trade and hotel businesses.

In a letter left on his desk, Zhao said he could not repay bank loans in time since frequent government policy changes had over-burdened his company.

He added he also borrowed money from friends, but was not able to pay the interest agreed, let alone the principal.

China controls about 80 per cent of global reserves of rare earth, which are oxides of metals that can be used to make magnets.