The whereabouts of missing mainland billionaire Xiao Jianhua remain a mystery after sources said he was last seen at a luxury Hong Kong hotel last week. A source close to him said he is currently in mainland China, but an advertisement under his name – and his company’s statements – have claimed he is receiving treatment overseas.
Concerns over the fate of Xiao, the founder of Beijing-based Tomorrow Group, emerged after overseas Chinese media covering mainland political rumours, including Mingjing News and Bowen Press, reported that mainland agents took him from Hong Kong on Friday. Hong Kong police have been looking into the tycoon’s disappearance.
A government source with knowledge of the investigation said Xiao, 46, left the Four Seasons Hotel in Central on Friday morning, accompanied by unidentified people. Another source said Xiao left Hong Kong for Shenzhen at about 3pm on Friday.
Earlier this week, Tomorrow Group – which has close ties with powerful mainland politicians and has stakes in businesses ranging from banking to trust funds – released two statements claiming Xiao was overseas. But they were later removed from the company’s WeChat account. An advertisement under his name that appeared on the front page of local newspaper Ming Pao today also denied the tycoon had been “captured” and taken back to the mainland. It claimed he was “currently receiving treatment overseas” and would “meet the press very soon after the treatment is finished”.
However, Hong Kong police said in another statement that Xiao entered the mainland on Friday. The police said they received a “request for police assistance” report on Saturday concerning a mainland citizen in the city. The statement did not name the person, but it was issued in response to media queries about Xiao.
A relative of the mainland citizen asked on Sunday for the report to be withdrawn because the subject told the family member he was safe, the police statement said. Police said that based on initial investigations, the subject entered the mainland on Friday. A source said Xiao’s wife filed and later withdrew the report to police.
A source close to Xiao also told the SCMP that the tycoon is currently in the mainland. The source, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Xiao could communicate only with his family.
“His family members can communicate with him. That’s not bad, at least we know he is safe and well.”
The case comes about a year after five Hong Kong booksellers disappeared, triggering fears of mainland agents acting outside their jurisdiction.