Police say all kidnap suspects caught, but bulk of ransom for Hong Kong heiress still missing
With the announcement of two more arrests in the kidnapping of Bossini heiress Queenie Rosita Law, police in Hong Kong and the mainland said all participants in the crime had been caught – but they were still stumped as to where 90 per cent of the HK$28 million ransom was hidden.
Authorities, meanwhile, have yet to decide whether the eight people arrested on the mainland will stand trial in Hong Kong or the mainland. The one arrested in Hong Kong will be tried in the city.
Police in Guangdong province announced the additional arrests this morning, saying eight suspects were apprehended in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Huizhou in Guangdong, as well as in Guizhou province. Police added that they had also recovered HK$2.8 million, as well as watches and jewellery.
But the location of the rest of the ransom remains a mystery.
“We are trying to find out their escape route. It is possible they may have hidden the money in a hillside in Hong Kong or mainland China while avoiding being captured,” a Hong Kong police source said.
He did not rule out the possibility that the money was being held by an as-yet unknown associate of the gang who is still at large.
But, the source said, “We believe all the members of the gang involved in the robbery and kidnap have been netted.”
Police previously reported six suspects had been arrested in Guangdong province, as well as one in Hong Kong. The new figure includes them.
“Our investigation showed six of the eight suspects captured on the mainland came to Hong Kong to commit crime,” the Hong Kong police source said. “One of them is the alleged mastermind.”
When asked whether those arrested on the mainland would stand trial in Hong Kong, senior superintendent Anthony Tsang Ching-fo, head of the Kowloon East regional crime unit, said police would liaise with mainland authorities to work out the best solution.
He said they would seek legal advice from Department of Justice if necessary.
Tsang said the arrests in Hong Kong and the mainland demonstrated the importance of the close cooperation between Hong Kong and mainland enforcement agencies.
“No matter where criminals will hide, Hong Kong and mainland police will spare no effort to track them down and bring them into justice,” he said.
The heist took place on April 25, when a gang of six Putonghua-speaking people broke into Law’s home on Clear Water Bay Road in Sai Kung and abducted her. They stole HK$2 million in cash and valuables from the home, Hong Kong police said.
Law was held for three days at a secluded cave in Fei Ngo Shan before her kidnappers called her father and demanded more than HK$40 million. That amount was reduced to HK$28 million, and Law was released on April 28 after her father paid it.
Guangdong police said at least one suspect operating in Shenzhen and Dongguan allegedly organised the smuggling of other suspects into or out of Hong Kong, as well as overseeing the sale of the stolen property.
Two suspects returned to the mainland with some of the stolen property soon after the kidnapping and fled to Huizhou and Guizhou separately, Guangdong police said.
Three other suspects also returned to the mainland on May 3, but one of them was arrested by Hong Kong police at the Lo Wu border checkpoint while the other two made it into Shenzhen. Those two were later detained by Guangdong police at a hostel in Luohu district.
Two remaining suspects returning to the mainland on May 6, but were also detained by police in Huidong county in Guangdong on Saturday. Police said they recovered HK$2.8 million from the pair, which is believed to be part of the ransom.
Guangdong police said seven of the suspects started plotting the caper in early April in Shenzhen. One of them entered Hong Kong using a travel permit while the other six were smuggled into the territory, they said.
Both mainland and Hong Kong police have characterised the crime as a premeditated heist, though Hong Kong police initially suspected it could have been a spontaneous burglary attempt.
Following the arrest of a man named Zheng Xingwang at the Shenzhen border, Hong Kong police mounted a huge search operation in Sha Tau Kok, near the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
Law is the granddaughter of late Bossini founder Law Ting-pong and her family has been running the clothing business for decades. Her father, Raymond Law Ka-kui, is a property investor who is involved in some of the city’s major development projects.