FOREIGN investors in China have little to fear from money-hungry kidnappers on the mainland - unless they happen to have an especially unlucky day. Despite a recent spurt of sensational kidnappings and killings of Hong Kong business people on the mainland, upstanding investors with clean business records have no reason to lose confidence, a security expert says. 'You're still much safer doing business in China than in many cities in the United States,' said Stephen Vickers, managing director of Kroll Associates (Asia). Mr Vickers, who commanded the Hong Kong police Criminal Intelligence Bureau for four years, said 20 of the 28 kidnappings he had handled over the years involved people close to the victim - drivers, employees or ex-staff members - not groups of bandits looking for a quick buck. He distinguished between what he called 'hardcore kidnappings', where claiming a ransom demand was the sole motivation, and others where the kidnappers intended to 'settle' financial disputes. So Kin-keung, chairman of Hong Kong-based Kin Son Electronics, has been missing for four weeks and was last seen in Shenzhen. Yesterday the directors of the company told the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong that they would liquidate the company. Mr So had personally pledged shares in Kin Son as collateral for a $2 million loan from the People's Construction Bank of China. Mr Vickers predicted a fall in the number of highly publicised kidnappings over the next few months because the Public Security Bureau in China was cracking down on organised crime. Hong Kong residents Sham Ka-yan, of Billion Team Industries, and employee Chan Kit-man, were found murdered and stuffed naked in plastic bags early last month in Dongguan, Guangdong. 'What we won't see is a decline in the number of disputes where a businessman is held for a short time,' Mr Vickers said. 'Those have been going on for years and will continue.' He said most business dispute abductions could be cleared up because they involved specific amounts of money. The real danger was in amateur groups of kidnappers who lacked clear plans. He said the victim was returned alive in 26 out of the 28 cases he handled, and both fatalities occurred when the kidnappers panicked.