Zong Qinghou

Man held after China’s second richest man Zong Qinghou injured in knife attack

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 11:57am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 September, 2013, 8:14pm

Hangzhou police on Wednesday confirmed they have arrested a man on suspicion of assaulting and injuring one of China’s richest men, Zong Qinghou, in a knife attack last Friday, after media reports said Zong had suffered severe injuries to his left hand.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted police as saying the suspect, surnamed Yang, from Jiangsu province, was arrested on Friday at a rented home in Hangzhou’s Shangcheng District.

Yang, 49, who is unemployed, earlier that day went to Zong’s house and asked him for a job. Yang allegedly attacked Zong after he turned down his request, Xinhua said citing police sources.

Zong suffered injuries to two tendons to his left hand and was taken to Hangzhou’s Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine for treatment, Xinhua reported.

Zong, 67, is the founder and chairman of China’s leading beverage maker Hangzhou Wahaha Group. He was twice, , in 2010 and 2012, ranked as the wealthiest businessman in China by the Hurun Research Institute’s annual rich list. With a fortune of 115 billion yuan (HK$145 billion), he was ranked second on the list after estate magnate, Wang Jianlin, this year.

Zong told Xinhua he was still working and recovering well from the “minor injuries”.

Online speculation mounted on Wednesday, however, raising doubts of alternative possible motivations behind the violent attack.

The Shenzhen-based Hong Kong Commercial Daily, which was first to report the incident, suggested the attack might have been motivated by retaliation because of personnel changes at Zong’s enterprise.

The China Real Estate Business newspaper earlier reported that the newly-established Wahaha Commercial Company, a subsidiary established as part of the group’s deployment to enter the retail business, had undergone a major restructuring that saw some of its managers laid-off.

Some online users also cast their doubts about the assault, finding the reported motivation of the suspect odd and unrealistic. “An immigrant worker would go straight up to Wahaha’s boss asking for a job? Not mentioning him carrying a knife. I don’t buy it,” one online posting speculated