Police arrest nine over New World attacks
Vandalism suspects linked to Sun Yee On triad
Police are questioning nine men arrested in connection with vandalism and ram-raid attacks targeting New World Development properties last week.
The arrests were made in the early hours yesterday. The men were still being questioned last night by officers of the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau.
A police source said the suspects had links to the Sun Yee On triad society.
He said more arrests were likely. New World Development's billionaire chairman, Cheng Yu-tung, said: 'It shows that Hong Kong's police are very efficient.'
Plain-clothes police officers could be seen patrolling around Mr Cheng's Repulse Bay home as he spoke to reporters.
Mr Cheng said he found out about the arrests from the television. He added that he was not worried about the attacks.
'I feel relaxed, as always. I have no enemies at all,' he said.
Ram-raiders targeted the group's headquarters in Central as well as two hotels, while vandals attacked 16 mobile phone shops.
Mr Cheng said the attacks had not affected the group's operations and the impact had been minimal.
'There was some damage but this has been fixed. They have not affected the business.'
The nine men were arrested overnight at various locations around the city, three of them at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint while trying to leave for the mainland.
Another suspect was taken by officers to a flat in Kwun Tong. They emerged about 20 minutes later and the man was taken to police headquarters for further questioning.
In an unusual move, the deputy director of the central government's liaison office, Li Gang, also commented on the attacks.
'Hong Kong is ruled by law. Everyone who lives and travels in the city wants their lives to be protected,' he said, adding that he hoped the matter would be resolved soon.
Former police chief Tsang Yam-pui, who is now executive director of New World subsidiary NWS Holdings, said he believed the police would solve the case quickly.
'We have great confidence in the police, as they place high importance on this case,' he said at the group's headquarters in Queens Road Central.
Mr Tsang reiterated that the group did not know why the attacks had taken place.
'We didn't receive any intimidation. We have investigated all staff at management level and not one of them has offended anyone personally, which might have prompted the attacks.'
Mr Tsang, who is the younger brother of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, said it was common for companies to be involved in business disputes and lawsuits, but that New World had never been threatened.
'Any relevant information has already been submitted to the police,' he added.
New World Group's director of corporate affairs, Kwan Chuk-fai, said the group had stepped up safety measures.
'We welcome the police's fast action in relation to the arrests ... we have full confidence in the police.
'Security has been heightened at all related group properties. We will keep close contact and co-operate with the police. We hope with full co-operation, they will break the case as soon as possible,' he said.
The attacks began on Wednesday morning. Sixteen mobile phone shops run by New World Mobility were splashed with red paint and a stolen car was rammed into the main entrance of the New World Renaissance Kowloon Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. At 5.45am on Thursday, a car reversed into the main entrance of the JW Marriott Hotel in Admiralty.
Minutes later, a car reversed into the back entrance of the New World Tower office complex in Central. Police believe it was the same car.