BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese police have captured eight suspects who allegedly fled with millions in ransom money after kidnapping a Hong Kong heiress, authorities said Thursday, bringing the total number detained over the incident to nine.
The granddaughter of late textiles tycoon Law Ting Pong, 29-year-old Queenie Rosita Law, was held for at least three days last month before family members paid a ransom of HK$28 million (S$4.76 million) for her to be released.
Police in Hong Kong had embarked on a massive operation to hunt down the suspected kidnappers, deploying hundreds of heavily armed officers, helicopters and marine vessels, and setting up roadblocks.
The Guangdong Provincial Public Security Bureau said in a statement Thursday that a total of seven suspects had now been arrested in the southern province of Guangdong, which neighbours the former British colony, and one was seized in the southwestern province of Guizhou earlier this month.
Hong Kong police said earlier that another suspect was arrested at a border checkpoint in Hong Kong as he attempted to flee to the mainland.
Police seized more than HK$2.8 million in cash - or 10 percent of the ransom the kidnappers had obtained - and property including watches and jewellery, according to the latest statement.
"We must not let cross-border criminals turn the mainland into a haven and we will not be soft on those who dare to commit an offence under this policy," it said.
A series of high-profile kidnapping cases shocked Hong Kong in the 1990s.
The eldest son of the city's richest man Li Ka Shing was kidnapped in 1996 by the infamous crime boss Cheung Tze Keung, nicknamed "Big Spender", who also kidnapped property tycoon Walter Kwok in 1997.
Cheung fled to China but was later arrested by mainland authorities. He was executed in 1998.