Chinese billionaire He Xiangjian was rescued from armed kidnapping who held him captive in his luxury villa in southern China's Guangdong province. He, 77, is the billionaire founder of Midea Group, one of the world's largest home appliance makers, and is ranked the sixth-richest person in China by Forbes with an estimated wealth of $23.2 billion.
Kidnappers armed with explosives broke into He's villa in Foshan on Sunday. His only son, 55-year-old He Jianfeng, sneaked out of the villa and swam through a nearby river to call the police. The police got the report about He's abduction at around 5:30 pm.
He was rescued early Monday morning while five suspects were arrested, South China Morning Post reported. No one was hurt during arrest and He was safe, the police said in a statement. The police said that public security bureaus at the provincial city and district levels all "paid high attention to the case. They quickly dispatched officers to rush to the site as soon as they received the report.
In pictures and videos doing the rounds on social media, several law enforcement officers are seen surrounding his villa, a European-style, two-story mansion decorated with Roman-style white marble columns and coral-bricked roof. They imposed a lockdown in the locality from Sunday evening to early Monday morning.
The Midea Group confirmed the incident on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media platform used in China. It thanked the police, media and all parties, in its official statement. All Midea employees were asked not to go to work on Monday after a risk assessment was done by the company.
About He Xiangjiang
Rising from a humble background, He started to build his Midea empire at the age of 26. After dropping out of school, he worked on farms and factories in Foshan. In 1968, he along with 23 local residents, raised 5,000 yuan and started a production line for plastic bottle caps.
He worked in several other products, such as glass tubes, car accessories and power generators, before he started producing plastic fans in 1981. A year later, he started manufacturing air conditioners and acquired permission to export them in 1988. In 1993, the company went public and was listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. One of the leading electric appliance manufacturers, the company has a market value of $59 billion.