After being reported missing from his Four Seasons apartment in Hong Kong, Chinese-born billionaire Xiao Jianhua is now reportedly “safe” and currently in police custody in mainland China “helping” with state investigations.
Initial reports say Xiao was forcibly taken from his luxury apartment by Chinese police on Friday.
The Hong Kong police have since issued a statement saying “the subject” was carried to mainland China on Friday where he was also reportedly able to communicate directly with his family.
While he was reported as missing by family members on Saturday, the missing person’s filing was withdrawn the following day.
Meanwhile, Xiao’s company, Tomorrow Group, published a full-page advertisement in a local newspaper claiming he was “receiving treatment overseas.”
South China Morning Post reported that he is now “assisting investigations” into the stock market manipulation scandal of 2015 and the case of a former top spy, quoting its sources.
The 45-year-old businessman, who spent his recent years staying at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong, was “persuaded” to cooperate by the mainland police who paid him a visited.
While there are no further details surrounding the case available, observers have pointed out that the agents might have contravened the “one country, two systems” rule, which technically prohibits Chinese police from carrying out its law enforcement operations in Hong Kong.
Xiao has been known to be closely associated with families of mainland political powers who purportedly helped him become a billionaire through government deals.
The investigations into the stock market crisis were also believed to be tied to disgraced former vice-minister of state security Ma Jian, who was suspected of violating the Communist Party discipline in the same year.
Four years ago, President Xi Jinping’s administration launched a sweeping crackdown on corruption. Suspects who have stayed abroad were brought back to the mainland.
According to the Security Bureau, the Basic Law authorized only local authorities to carry out law enforcement in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police, however, have denied reports that it was involved in the operation on Friday, saying they were “purely speculative and carried no truth.”