Workers wearing protective masks are seen outside Midea factory in Wuhan, Hubei province. Xiangjin retired as chairman in 2012, after building the company into China’s biggest exporter of air conditioners.(REUTERS)
Workers wearing protective masks are seen outside Midea factory in Wuhan, Hubei province. Xiangjin retired as chairman in 2012, after building the company into China’s biggest exporter of air conditioners.(REUTERS)

Kidnapping of China’s 7th richest man thwarted after son swims across a lake to raise alarm

He Xiangjian, China’s seventh-richest person, was held hostage by the would-be kidnappers, who were carrying explosive materials, according to the Economic Observer, a local newspaper. The attempt failed after He’s son escaped and swam across a lake to raise the alarm, Forbes reported.
By Bloomberg
UPDATED ON JUN 15, 2020 11:56 PM IST

Police rescued the billionaire founder of home-appliance giant Midea Group Co. after an abduction attempt at his home over the weekend.

He Xiangjian, China’s seventh-richest person, was held hostage by the would-be kidnappers, who were carrying explosive materials, according to the Economic Observer, a local newspaper. The attempt failed after He’s son escaped and swam across a lake to raise the alarm, Forbes reported.

He has a net worth of about $24 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Police in Foshan, a city in the southern Guangdong province, said they received a report at 5:30 p.m. Sunday that someone broke into an apartment in a residential community owned by Midea and threatened the homeowner’s safety, according to a statement on their official WeChat account.

Five suspects were arrested early Monday, according to the police.

Midea Group reposted the police statement on its official Weibo account without elaborating. A company representative told Bloomberg the case is under investigation by police and that Midea had no other details to share.

Midea, founded in 1968, is known for its low- to medium-end appliances. He retired as chairman in 2012, after building the company into China’s biggest exporter of air conditioners. The stock closed 3.3% after the close in Shenzhen Monday.

Worries about kidnapping have prompted more of the world’s richest people to spend millions of dollars on security in recent years.

Walls, fences or other barriers surrounding homes of the ultra-wealthy are typically equipped with motion sensors and monitored by cameras that can be programmed to recognize certain faces. Some are tailed by bodyguards at all hours. Typical measures inside residences can include ballistic windows, safe rooms as well as reinforced doors, walls and locks.

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