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Hong Kong courts

Gang tried to force retired high-ranking Hong Kong official into wooden box during kidnap attempt, High Court hears

  • Chinese mainland resident on trial over incident involving retired former Urban Council chairman Ronald Leung
  • Prosecutors claim three men tried to abduct victim for ransom
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2018, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 12:02am

A man from mainland China was part of a gang who tried to kidnap a retired high-ranking Hong Kong official in broad daylight in Causeway Bay, a court heard on Wednesday.

Li Guoyong, 46, is standing trial at the High Court over the incident, in which three men are accused of ambushing former Urban Council chairman Ronald Leung Ding-bong, taping his mouth and eyes shut, and trying to stuff him into a wooden coffin-shaped box.

The gang are further accused of forcing a mask attached to a tank of oxygen onto Leung’s face, as they allegedly tried to put him into the box.

The alleged kidnap attempt, which took place inside Leung’s office building, was only foiled when a passer-by raised the alarm, forcing the gang to flee.

Li denies one count of conspiring with others to commit forcible detention, in relation to the incident at the building on Yee Wo Street on November 6, 2007.

Opening his case on Wednesday, Derek Lai Kim-wah, acting senior assistant director of public prosecutions, outlined Li’s role in the attempted abduction.

“Who rented the oxygen tank? It was the defendant,” he told the jury.

Leung, a doctor by training, was chairman of the Urban Council between 1991 and 1999. The council was responsible for municipal services in Hong Kong during the colonial era, until it was disbanded in 1999.

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Lai said Leung, who was 73 years old at the time of the attack, used the office in Causeway Bay to manage his private investments and had been targeted so the gang could ransom him.

On the day the gang are accused of trying to snatch him, Leung followed his usual routine and arrived at Jardine House at about 9.30am. But, when his lift reached the 10th floor, a man in the lift pushed him out into the corridor, where two men were waiting with the box wrapped in cardboard, and the tank of oxygen, Lai said.

The prosecutor said the trio then taped up Leung’s arms, legs, mouth and eyes, and tried to force him into the box.

But, Leung struggled violently, the prosecutor said, biting one of the men on a finger. A passer-by caused the three men to flee the scene. Police were alerted by a security guard in the building, the court heard.

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Lai said records showed Li had visited a medical shop in Cheung Sha Wan the day before the incident to rent oxygen tanks.

The prosecutor told jurors to pay attention to two “major bases” involved in the case, including an abandoned pig farm in Yuen Long, which had been rented the month before the incident, and a flat in Kingswood Villas owned by a man called Brandi Chiang Sai-wah. He said Leung rented his office from one of Chiang’s brothers, who has been named as one of the conspirators.

Lai said an oxygen tank was found at the pig farm, while a truck driver had been employed to move the box from there to Causeway Bay, he said.

The case continues before Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay.