Son 'Swam for Rescue' After Attempt to Kidnap Billionaire

5 suspects were arrested, police in China say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2020 3:00 PM CDT
Attempt to Kidnap One of China's Richest Men Foiled
Unidentified men are seen outside He's luxury villa in Foshan.   (YouTube)

Chinese tycoon He Xiangjian tends to keep a low profile—but his $25 billion fortune apparently still attracted the attention of a group of kidnappers. Police say the 77-year-old was unharmed after five people broke into his luxury villa in the southern city of Foshan on Sunday, the BBC reports. According to reports in state media, the men were thought to be wielding explosive devices when they entered the billionaire's home—but He's 55-year-old son managed to elude them and swam across a river to call police. Authorities say all five suspects were arrested at 5am, almost 12 hours after they entered the home.

He, founder of home appliance maker the Midea Group, is believed to be China's sixth-richest man and is No. 36 on Forbes' billionaires list for 2020. The South China Morning Post notes that there "were at least two security stations outside of He's villa, which also has its own 24-hour security guard," and it's not clear how the suspects got past them. Such crimes—especially brazen kidnap attempts in broad daylight—are rare in China, though crime has been edging upward since the pandemic hit the country's economy, reports the New York Times. Authorities, who have made reducing unemployment a top priority, say the robbery count in April was more than twice what it was in March. (Read more China stories.)

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