Hong Kong police check CCTV footage for clues on missing tycoon
Hong Kong police are checking roadside surveillance footage around the city to try to trace the movements of missing mainland billionaire Xiao Jianhua as they investigate his disappearance from the luxury hotel where he was staying on Lunar New Year’s Eve, the Post has learned.
The Canadian consulate in Hong Kong, meanwhile, confirmed that Xiao was a Canadian citizen.
More details of the tycoon’s disappearance emerged on Thursday as a senior government source with knowledge of the case told the Post that the founder of Beijing-based Tomorrow Group left the Four Seasons Hotel in Central “smoothly” with two female bodyguards and six other unidentified people in plain clothes at around 3am last Friday.
The group was picked up by two cars, driven by two men, at the main entrance. It was 3pm when Xiao crossed the border into Shenzhen in a vehicle at Lok Ma Chau.
“Police are investigating where Xiao went and with whom he met during the 12-hour gap,” the source said. “Officers are trying to get as much CCTV footage as possible, from private buildings and the government, so as to join the dots and map out his routes before he left the city.”
The source did not disclose the model of the cars that picked up Xiao and the others at the hotel, or whether Xiao left for Shenzhen in the same vehicle that picked him up.
One woman was left behind at the Four Seasons Hotel, as Xiao checked in with three women but was last seen leaving the building with two, the source said.
Concerns over the fate of the 46-year-old, high-profile tycoon were raised after overseas Chinese media reported that mainland agents had taken him from Hong Kong on Friday.
It is understood that Xiao’s wife reported his disappearance to police via her lawyer on Saturday, but withdrew it the next day because Xiao contacted her to say he was safe. The source declined to say whether the woman staying behind at the hotel was Xiao’s wife.
Police are still awaiting a reply from mainland authorities for an update on Xiao’s situation.
“The force needs to know if Xiao is safe at the moment even though his family member withdrew the missing person case,” the source said. “Officers will also investigate whether someone had committed offences and breached our law on Hong Kong soil.”
A full page advertisement in Xiao’s name appeared on the front page of local Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao on Wednesday denying Xiao had been “captured” and taken back to the mainland. It claimed the tycoon was “currently receiving treatment overseas” and would “meet the press very soon after the treatment is finished”.
“I think the Chinese government is a civilised government and [respects] the rule of law – the public should not misunderstand!” the advertisement said.
However, an aide told the Post later that Xiao was on the mainland and sources said he was assisting in investigations over the stock market turmoil of 2015 and the case of a former top spy.
Tomorrow Group issued a statement earlier saying that Xiao, as a Canadian citizen, enjoyed the consular protection of Canada.