Multi-billionaire Zong Qinghou, China's richest man until he was dethroned last week, was injured in an alleged revenge attack following the dismissal of some employees, reports said on Wednesday.
Zong is chairman of China's leading beverage producer Wahaha Group and Forbes magazine estimates his personal wealth at $11 billion, second only to Wang Jianlin, head of conglomerate Wanda Group, on $14 billion.
The 67-year old tycoon was attacked on Friday near his home in the eastern city of Hangzhou and injured his fingers, China's official Xinhua news agency said citing police, adding a suspect had been arrested.
Tendons in Zong's left hand were severed, the Shenzhen-based Hong Kong Commercial Daily reported, with a source telling the paper that the attack might have been revenge for the removal of executives at a Wahaha unit.
Representatives of the ruling Communist Party in Hangzhou have become involved in the case, the state-backed agency China News Service reported, citing an unnamed employee at Wahaha.
Neither Wahaha nor police in Hangzhou could immediately be reached for comment by AFP.