Billionaire businessman Xiao Jianhua was apparently picked up by Chinese agents from Hong Kong. He is currently ‘helping inquiries’ into 2015 stock market turmoil and case of former top spy. Xiao is the latest Chinese tycoon to lose control of his own fate, sources said.
Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua, who disappeared mysteriously from his luxury Hong Kong hotel on the Lunar New Year weekend, is now reportedly on Mainland China. He is assisting investigations into two cases:
1. the stock market turmoil of 2015 and
2. the case of a former top spy.
Quoting sources, the South China Morning Post said the founder of Beijing-based Tomorrow Group was “persuaded” to cooperate rather than coerced by mainland agents who visited him at his serviced apartment in the Four Seasons Hotel last Friday.
However, it is still a mystery in what capacity the mainland agents came to Hong Kong, or which agencies they represented. But clearly the agents have been acting beyond their jurisdiction in crossing the border to carry out law enforcement work, thereby violating Hong Kong’s rule of law.
The investigation is said to be focused on manipulation that contributed to panic selling during the 2015 market rout.
The investigation is also believed to be related to disgraced former vice-minister of state security Ma Jian, who came under suspicion of violating Communist Party discipline – a euphemism for corruption – earlier that year.
The actions of Xiao, whose Tomorrow Group is behind many large merger and acquisition deals, reportedly had a “significant impact” on the mainland economy.
Xiao was regarded as having close ties to families and relatives of mainland political heavyweights, which helped him amass billions of yuan through deals.
Beijing launched a massive crackdown on corruption and economic crimes more than four years ago, and more recently has sent agents abroad to bring suspects back to the mainland.
Xiao, 46, reportedly left the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong on Friday morning, accompanied by an unidentified number of people. The hotel has handed over surveillance camera footage to the police, the source added.
The CCTV footage did not find any scuffles in the hotel involving Xiao or his two female bodyguards.
Xiao’s Tomorrow Group has close ties with powerful mainland politicians and has stakes in businesses ranging from banking to trust funds.
On Tuesday, the group put out a statement which said Xiao was recuperating overseas. A second statement said the tycoon was not “captured” and taken back to the mainland, and would appear “very soon after the treatment”.
He hit back at claims he fled to Hong Kong and is under investigation.
The statement quoted Xiao as saying that as a Canadian citizen he enjoyed the consular protection of Canada. He was also quoted as saying he held a “diplomatic passport”.
But the two statements – along with the rest of the group’s posts – have since been removed from the company’s WeChat account.
Xiao’s case comes about a year after five Hong Kong booksellers disappeared, triggering fears of mainland agents acting outside of their jurisdiction.