• Xiao Jianhua

Xiao Jianhua (Photo : NewsBeat Social/YouTube)

Xiao Jianhua, a billionaire born in China but a Canadian citizen with an Antiguan diplomatic passport, is missing. He reportedly was seized by police from China while staying at a Four Seasons Hotel apartment in Hong Kong on Friday and is now in China.

Someone close to Xiao Jianhua said the billionaire is held by the police in China but is safe. On Sunday, one of his family members said the billionaire is safe and asked the Hong Kong police to withdraw his files from the missing persons list. According to the Hong Kong police, Xiao Jianhua entered mainland China on Friday by crossing the border, the New York Times reported.

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Source of Wealth

The 45-year-old billionaire’s wealth is estimated at 40 billion yuan or $5.8 billion through shares in Tomorrow Group which holds stocks in banks, coal, cement, insurance companies and properties. His dealings have helped influential people in China financially such as when he paid $2.4 million in 2013 to purchase stocks in an investment company held by the brother-in-law and sister of Chinese President Xi Jingping.

He posted on Tuesday on the WeChat account of Tomorrow Group two notices that he was not abducted from Hong Kong to China. Rather, Xiao Jianhua claims to be recovering overseas and would meet soon with the press. But the two posts, which a person close to the billionaire said were false, had been removed from the messenger service.

No Publicity

The billionaire posted it to cut speculations about his situation since Beijing did not want publicity on his whereabouts. Four Seasons Hotel, which had been the billionaire’s residence for years, and China’s Ministry of Public Security have been silent on Xiao Jianhua’s case.

A spokesman for Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Canada is aware of the reports that the Canadian billionaire is missing. He added consular officials are in touch with Chinese authorities to acquire more information and provide assistance to Xiao Jianhua, Globe and Mail reported.

It is the third missing prominent Chinese given widespread publicity. In late 2015, Lee Bo, a bookseller, also disappeared from Hong Kong and turned up in China. In 2016, Zhou Chenjian, the 65th richest person in China and founder of Metersbonwe, a fashion brand in China, was also picked up by Chinese police.