HONG KONG • Almost a year after Bossini clothing chain heiress Queenie Rosita Law was kidnapped and later freed, Hong Kong police recovered HK$6.35 million (S$1.1 million) of the ransom money buried in Ma On Shan country park.
Following a tip-off by their mainland counterparts, 20 police officers dug up a stash of HK$1,000 banknotes wrapped in a plastic bag, buried 35cm below dense undergrowth on a remote hillside near the village of Mui Tsz Lam, reported the South China Morning Post.
The search began on Wednesday and the ransom money was found shortly after 10am on Thursday.
A source with knowledge of the investigation told the paper that the site was close to where police recovered HK$15 million last August. Both stashes of cash were found not far from a cave where Ms Law - the 29-year-old granddaughter of late textile tycoon Law Ting Pong - was held captive for three days last April.
She was kidnapped from her home on Kam Shue Road in Clear Water Bay, Sai Kung, by six men on April 25 last year. The kidnappers made off with HK$2 million in cash and valuables.
Ms Law was dumped 12km away on a hillside at Kowloon Peak after her father, Mr Raymond Law Ka Kui, paid HK$28 million (S$5 million) in ransom for her release.
In a report in Hong Kong newspaper The Standard, Chief Inspector Chung Chi Ming of the Kowloon East crime unit said: "All the ransom money has been found.
"We believe another HK$110,000 had been spent by the kidnappers when they were escaping to the mainland. The search officially comes to an end."
Inspector Chung said it took 11 months for police to find the money because the investigation was difficult. He added that the kidnappers - most of whom were from the mainland and are now being held by the authorities there - had picked a route not popular with hikers.
Ten people have been arrested in relation to the kidnapping. Nine of them were caught in Guangdong and Guizhou provinces.
A 29-year-old man, Zheng Xingwang, was nabbed in Hong Kong when he tried to leave for Shenzhen a week after Ms Law was released.
Hong Kong police and mainland authorities have recovered HK$27.89 million of the ransom money in both jurisdictions, along with jewellery believed to have been stolen from Ms Law's home.