HNA chairman's fatal accident: Other unusual ways Chinese tycoons have died

According to French authorities, co-chairman of the large Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co Wang Jian had been trying to get his photo taken by his family in a small village in Provence, but slipped and fell from a sharp drop.
According to French authorities, co-chairman of the large Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co Wang Jian had been trying to get his photo taken by his family in a small village in Provence, but slipped and fell from a sharp drop.PHOTO: AFP

Wang Jian, the co-chairman of the large Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co, died in a freak accident Tuesday (July 3) in France.

According to French authorities, Mr Wang had been trying to get his photo taken by his family in a small village in Provence, but slipped and fell from a sharp drop.

This may seem like an unusual way to go - but not, apparently, for Chinese tycoons. A China Daily report said that between 2003 and 2011, some 72 billionaires in China have died "unnatural deaths".

Here are some of the weird - and gory - ways other rich Chinese men have died:

1. BY ROCK-KICKING MONKEY

Weng Mao, 67, was the former head of Guan Sheng Yuan Group, famous for producing the White Rabbit milk candy. He was sightseeing at the scenic Yuntai Mountain in April 2016 when a rock, apparently kicked off by a murderous monkey, hit his head.

The mountain is apparently known for wild monkeys that harass tourists.

Mr Weng died later in hospital.

2. BY HELICOPTER CRASH

In February 2014, French police found a body near a river in France's wine-growing Bordeaux region. The body was later identified as Chinese billionaire Lam Kok, 46, who had been missing for over two months after crashing his helicopter into the Dordogne river.

The tea magnate had been taking an airborne tour of his newly acquired wine estate with his financial adviser, 12-year-old son and the estate's former owner. All three of them died in the crash as well.

3. BY POISONED CAT STEW

Chinese billionaire Long Liyuan, 49, died in Dec 2011 after sharing a lunch of cat meat stew - a southern China delicacy - with a local Guangdong official named Huang Guang.

Police later arrested Huang on suspicion that he had laced the stew with the herb Gelsemium elegans, a poisonous herb found in forests in China. Long died in hospital of a cardiac arrest.

Police later said that Huang and Long had economic disputes, The Guardian reported.

4. BY DISMEMBERMENT

A dismembered body, allegedly chopped into more than a hundred pieces, was discovered at a home in Vancouver Canada in May, 2015.

It belonged to millionaire Gang Yuan, who had been a Canadian resident since 2007, making his fortune through investments in real estate and agriculture, CBC Radio-Canada reported.

His cousin's husband, Li Zhao, was later charged with second-degree murder. The suspected motive was to obtain Yuan's well-located home in an exclusive district.

Sources: AFP, Bloomberg, China Daily, The Guardian, CBC Radio-Canada.