'Back from hell's gate': Hong Kong property high-flier bailed on fraud charges rescued from Taiwanese kidnappers demanding HK$70m ransom
The chairman of a Hong Kong-listed oil company was rescued by police in western Taiwan last night after spending 38 days held by kidnappers, according to Taiwanese media reports.
Pearl Oriental Oil chairman Wong Yuk-kwan, 68, also known as Wong Kun, was abducted as he left his residence in Xindian district, New Taipei City late last month.
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The businessman had been due to face fraud charges in Hong Kong’s High Court related to the purchase of a US$225 million oilfield in Utah, the United States, and was released on bail. He was originally due to appear back in court today.
Reports at the time claimed Wong had flown to Taiwan in February for a business trip, then claimed to have suffered an accident that required him to stay for treatment.
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After his abduction, Wong’s office in Hong Kong received a ransom order from his kidnappers for HK$70 million, the Central News Agency reported.
Taiwanese police launched a rescue operation at a temple in Yunlin County yesterday, freeing Wong and arresting at least 12 people allegedly linked to Taiwan’s Bamboo Union triad. Wong is now receiving treatment in hospital.
Wong said he thought he could die at any time during his 38 days in captivity, according to Taiwanese media.
"Every day I felt I might not be able to see the sun the next day," Taiwanese newspaper Chinatimes quoted him as saying.
The moment he saw police officers break open the door to rescue him last night, Wong said he felt he had "picked his life back up from hell's gate".
It was unclear if Wong’s family sent ransom money but in a video clip apparently filmed by kidnappers six days before his release, Wong asked his daughter to pay to secure his freedom.
According to footage obtained by Apple Daily the appeal was dated October 22, 2015.
Looking tired and appearing to have suffered facial injuries, Wong says:
“My dearest daughter, it’s daddy. Today is October 22, 2015 on Thursday. Please come to help mum remit the remaining amount [of ransom] tomorrow.
“Stay strong. Wait for my return.”
Wong is heard saying when they were all safe they would go to a favourite restaurant of theirs together.
The video – in which a bedraggled Wong is wearing a white t-shirt and shorts - ends: “Love you”.
Additional reporting by Lai Ying-kit