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Hong Kong Billionaire Businessman Tortured to Death in China While in Custody

Hong Kong Central News Agency quoted Sing Tao Daily and reported that, on March 19, 2017, Hong Kong billionaire businessman Liu Xiyong allegedly died during an interrogation while he was in custody. Liu was arrested in March of 2017 for bribery. A copy of the court indictment paper circulating on the internet cited seven prosecutors who were involved in Liu’s case. They were accused of “extorting a confession by torture, negligence of duty, and intentional assault.” The case is currently being tried in the Tianjing Intermediate Court. The court paper stated that, during the four days while Liu was in custody, he was only allowed to rest for two hours. He spent the rest of the time tied up in the interrogation chair. The autopsy report indicated that a number of torture methods were used on Liu. He suffered a broken sternum and fractured ribs and he died of suffocation.

Liu Xiyong, 60 years old, was from Fuzhou, Fujian Province. He was among the first group of students in the mainland to have studied abroad where he attended Harvard University. He obtained a permanent resident status in Hong Kong and became the agent representing three major US chain stores on the mainland:  Walmart, JC Penney, and Sears. He was also the clothing supplier for JC Penny. Liu owned the Hong Kong Junyi hotel and the Hong Kong Xin Liji International Group and was a “financial crocodile” with billions of dollars in assets. In November 2016, Liu Xiyong was wanted for making fraudulent loans from the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China for more than 200 million Hong Kong dollars (US$25 million). He was detained in Beijing initially and was secretly transferred to the Yanbian Prefecture Detention Center in Jilin Province in March 2017. On March 19, Liu died during the investigation of the Jilin Yanbian State Procuratorate. Liu’s death is speculated to have had deep political connections. Liu’s wife, Li Fangfei, is a famous TV host for CCTV. An online posting also disclosed that the media has been instructed not to report, forward, or comment on the trial.

1. Central News Agency, September 8, 2018
2. Have8.TV, September 9, 2018