Star's kidnapped son locked in suitcase

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 12:00am

The son of internationally renowned actress-director Sylvia Chang Ai-chia was freed from kidnappers yesterday. The gang were carrying the nine-year-old boy in a suitcase.

Oscar Chang, who had been held for 10 days, was freed when police arrested three men outside the Kowloon Newton Hotel, Mongkok, before dawn. He was unhurt.

Oscar was abducted near his school, La Salle College in Kowloon Tong, on July 3.

Chang, 45, and her family are understood to have received a ransom demand for $15 million shortly afterwards. The operation to rescue the boy took place after an arrangement to pay the ransom was made, although no money changed hands.

Officers from Kowloon East Regional Crime Unit staked out the hotel in Boundary Street before the operation. Last night, crime unit detectives were questioning three men, aged between 17 and 20, arrested in connection with the kidnapping. At about 10.30pm, a fourth man, believed to be a relative, arrived at crime unit headquarters at Ngau Tau Kok police station to help detectives with their inquiries. Police would give no official details of the incident.

Oscar, who was resting in hospital last night, is Chang's only child. His father is Taiwanese businessman Billy Wong Ching-hung, who is Chang's second husband. She has two stepsons from Mr Wong's first marriage. Chang's first marriage, to Hong Kong-based journalist Bob Liu, ended in 1984.

The actress was born in Taiwan and spent her teenage years in New York, before moving to Hong Kong when she was 19, after being spotted by Golden Harvest and cast in Flying Tiger. The martial-arts movie gave her a flying leap into the Hong Kong film world.

She has since been involved in more than 70 films, including Ang Lee's Eat Drink Man Woman, Mike Newell's adaption of Timothy Mo's Soursweet, Full Moon in New York and Queen of Temple Street.

Although Bernardo Bertolucci desperately wanted Chang to have a role in The Last Emperor, sensitive cross-strait relations ruled that out. In 1991, she sidelined acting to concentrate on producing, writing and directing.

Her most recent film as a director was Tempting Hearts, starring Takeshi Kaneshiro and Gigi Leung Wing-kei, while she starred in Canadian arthouse film Red Violin, about the Cultural Revolution, two years ago.

Chang appeared on stage in support of independent candidate James Soong Chu-yu during Taiwan's presidential election in March. She has worked with the charity World Vision in Ethiopia in recent years.

The actress has described her success as down to one word - tenacity. 'I don't think I am particularly talented. I'm just stubborn as hell.'