image

Hong Kong courts

Mainland Chinese man found guilty of attempted kidnapping of retired high-ranking Hong Kong official in 2007

  • Jury finds Li Guoyong, 46, guilty of conspiring with others to commit forcible detention
  • Violent gang ambushed former Urban Council chairman Ronald Leung as he went to his Causeway Bay office
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 12:16am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2018, 8:43am

A man from mainland China was found guilty on Monday of taking part in a gang’s attempt to kidnap a retired high-ranking Hong Kong official in broad daylight more than a decade ago.

It took a panel of jurors at the High Court seven hours to return a unanimous guilty verdict on Li Guoyong, 46, who had denied one count of conspiring with others to commit forcible detention.

The decision meant the jury was convinced Li was part of a violent cohort who ambushed former Urban Council chairman Ronald Leung Ding-bong and tried to stuff him into a wooden coffin-shaped box in Causeway Bay in 2007.

This was despite the allegations against Li being based largely on circumstantial evidence, including investigators having been able to trace oxygen tanks that were to be used in the kidnapping to him.

He was the second man to be convicted in the case. The mastermind, Brandi Chiang Sai-wah, brother of former Urban Council member Chiang Sai-cheong, was jailed for 14 years in 2008 after he was found guilty over the same attack. He lost his appeal in 2010.

Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay is expected to hear mitigation from lawyers for Li on Tuesday.

The attack, which was thwarted thanks to a struggle by Leung and the intervention of a passer-by, took place on November 6, 2007, at a building on Yee Wo Street where Leung had rented an office to handle his investments after leaving the government.

Gang accused of forcing high-ranking official into box during kidnap attempt

Derek Lai Kim-wah, acting senior assistant director of public prosecutions, said the gang wanted a ransom for Leung.

The court heard that one gang member followed Leung into the building’s lift on the day of the attempted kidnap. When it reached the 10th floor, the man pushed him out into the corridor, where two men were waiting with the box wrapped in cardboard, and oxygen tanks.

They taped Leung’s arms, legs, mouth and eyes, and tried to force him into the box. Leung was 73 years old at the time.

But Leung, chairman of the Urban Council between 1991 and 1999, struggled violently, biting off one attacker’s little finger. The gang fled the scene after a passer-by intervened. A security guard in the building also alerted police, the court heard.

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

During the eight-day trial, Li claimed Brandi Chiang had engaged him to do some cleaning, a version of events rejected by the jury on Monday.