Police guard billionaire's family after kidnap bid

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 April, 2012, 12:00am


The four-year-old daughter of billionaire Florence Tsang Chiu-wing and her family have been placed under police protection after the girl and her grandmother escaped a kidnap attempt on Wednesday.

Police have also stepped up surveillance at all border checkpoints in an effort to prevent four would-be abductors from fleeing the city to Macau or the mainland.

The bungled kidnap took place when the grandmother, 60, arrived to pick up the girl in a seven-seater Toyota at the ESF International Kindergarten (Hillside) on Stubbs Road. At about 4pm, the four men approached as she got into the vehicle with the girl, said police.

'Some of the abductors pushed the two victims into the car and, at the same time, the others dragged out the chauffeur,' a police source said.

But the men were unable to start the car, and when an expatriate man shouted at them, they fled on foot.

An air pistol, a paper cutter and adhesive tape were found at the scene. No one was injured.

The culprits spoke Putonghua when they ordered the victims not to shout for help, according to the source.

'We believe it is not a random attack and the girl is their target,' the source said. 'The girl and her family have been placed under police protection after the incident and police patrols around their home have also been stepped up.'

Tsang became Hong Kong's newest billionaire after being awarded a divorce settlement of HK$1.2 billion in December.

Her ex-husband, Samathur Li Kin-kan, is a son of billionaire property tycoon Samuel Lee Tak-yee.

The settlement was to 'maintain the lifestyle to which Tsang had become accustomed'. It included a HK$250 million Hong Kong property and a London property worth HK$30.53 million. It also allowed HK$2.5 million for buying two cars in Hong Kong and another HK$1 million for a car in London.

Police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung stressed police were treating the case seriously and said initial investigations indicated the victims did not know the would-be abductors.

He said police were currently treating the case as an attempted robbery, but 'we do not rule out any other possibilities'.

Tsang appealed to witnesses and others who might have information about the case to come forward.

'We wish to bring these culprits to justice as soon as possible. We need your help in order to do this,' he said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police at 2860 7886. A spokeswoman for the kindergarten yesterday said an e-mail was sent to parents about the incident. The e-mail read: 'A group of men approached and restrained one of our children's grandma in the family's vehicle.' The spokeswoman added that security at the school was sufficiently strict.

'Everyone has to ring the bell to get in. There is also a closed-circuit television at the entrance. No stranger could go into the campus.'

Yesterday, parents picking up and sending their children to school said they were not worried.

'I am not a tycoon, so why should I be worried?' one grandparent said.

From February 2 to April 16 of this year, police followed up on 22 cases of suspected child abduction in the city. Seven of the cases were misreported and another seven were misunderstandings.

Two others were discovered not to be abductions or criminal in nature.

The six remaining cases are being followed up by police, but their investigations so far have found no proof of child abduction.

From 2009 to 2011, police received a total of three reports of child abduction. All three children were found and three people were arrested.