Hong Kong police nab one suspect in massive hunt for kidnappers who fled with millions

HONG KONG (AFP) - The Hong Kong police on Monday arrested one of six suspects who fled with millions in ransom money after a kidnap, the city's new police commissioner Stephen Lo said.

City authorities embarked on a massive operation to hunt down six suspected kidnappers after the release of a woman on Tuesday following a ransom payment of HK$28 million (S$4.8 million) from her family members.

The arrest was made during the police's latest search efforts on Monday morning.

"We arrested one of the suspects relating to this kidnap case in Lo Wu this morning," Mr Lo, who has replaced Andy Tsang Wai-hung as the city's police chief, told reporters.

Lo Wu is one of Hong Kong's land border checkpoints connecting the city with China.

Lo said the search for other suspects had been extended to the mainland.

"At the moment, we are still doing everything we can to look for other culprits. We are having very close co-operation with mainland authorities in order to find the wanted persons," Mr Lo said, without giving further detail.

Television footage showed that officers also descended on rural border town Sha Tau Kok, setting up road blocks.

A police spokesman said there was nothing to add about the arrest when approached by AFP, including whether any ransom money was retrieved.

Hundreds of armed officers have combed through the city's rural areas, including country parks and villages, since the release of Ms Queenie Rosita Law, 29, with helicopters and marine vessels also deployed.

Ms Law, who is the granddaughter of late textiles tycoon Law Ting-pong, said late on Thursday in a press conference that she was not injured.

She was held for at least three days by the kidnappers, who had initially demanded up to HK$50 million for her release, but settled on HK$28 million.

After returning to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong remains a separate law enforcement jurisdiction from the mainland under the "one country, two systems" mechanism, guaranteeing the city's personal freedom and liberty.

The southern Chinese city of seven million people is for the most part considered to be safe, with violent crimes in 2014 falling almost 10 per cent from 2013. Robberies also fell 38.2 per cent to 309 cases in 2014, compared with figures from 2013.

But a series of high-profile kidnapping cases shocked the city 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 the mainland authorities and was executed in 1998.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.