China's VIP qigong master Wang Lin has reportedly sought refuge in Hong Kong, after days of intense media scrutiny and ahead of a court hearing in Jiangxi province on Tuesday on fraud allegations.
Wang, 61, entered Hong Kong via the Huanggang checkpoint on Friday, his former disciple Zou Yong told the Beijing News, according to an article published on Tuesday. Zou said he had also seen a photo of Wang in Hong Kong dated July 29.
Zou also said Wang had an apartment near Fortress Hill.
Wang's journey to Hong Kong, if confirmed, points to the growing pressure the self-proclaimed qigong master has been exposed to since the corruption trial of former Railways minister Liu Zhijun last month.
Liu was a known client of the Jiangxi-based necromancer. But Wang's political connections were much wider than formerly known, photos shared recently on microblogs have shown.
Former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, actors Jackie Chan and Jet Li, singer Faye Wong, billionaire Jack Ma and relatives of former president Hu Jintao were seen in the photos with Wang.
Police in Wang's hometown Luxi have told the Guangzhou Daily that they are investigating Wang for causing bodily harm by illegally practising medicine. Wang had claimed that his qigong skills could cure cancer and other diseases.
In an earlier interview with the Beijing News, Wang had dismissed allegations of fraud, maintaining that he had never charged for qigong performances. The provincial High Court in Jiangxi province is hearing civil charges against Wang by former disciple Zou on Tuesday.
Wang had obtained permanent residency in Hong Kong around 1995, according to the Beijing News. His current mainland travel permit was issued in 2009, the daily said.
His case is reminiscent of the flight to Hong Kong by Lai Changxing, then a well-connected Xiamen real estate tycoon, in 1999 and, one year later, to Canada as charges of bribery and smuggling were brought against him. In 2011, he was extradited to China, where he is currently serving a life sentence.