Police rescued a Chinese billionaire on Monday after intruders broke into his luxury villa in southern China on Sunday and attempted to kidnap him, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Ranked the sixth-richest person in China by Forbes, He Xiangjian, 77, is worth an estimated $25 billion. On Sunday, alleged intruders “carrying explosives” broke into his home in Foshan, Guangdong province, to kidnap him.
He’s son, 55-year-old He Jianfeng, managed to sneak out of the villa. He then swam across a nearby river to safety and called the police, online news website TMTPost reports.
Local law enforcement authorities arrested five suspects early Monday morning after conducting a rescue operation that lasted about 12 hours. According to an official police statement, no one was hurt during the incident and He is reported to be safe.
According to SCMP, He is the founder of Midea Group, one of the world’s most successful home appliance makers. The luxury golf resort and housing community he lives in, where the incident occurred on Sunday, was developed by He’s own Midea Group.
Fellow residents of the exclusive community, called the Royal Orchid International Golf Villa, expressed their shock on Monday over the incident, which occurred despite stringent security protocols.
“I was shocked because the estate has got pretty tight security. We have to get the owners to walk us in, or the owners tell security in advance and all visitors need to get their identity cards registered to get in,” Vera Huang, a property agent who works with the Royal Orchid, told the SCMP.
According to the report, the residential community is “guarded by a 24-hour manned security booth at the gate.” In addition, there are “separate checkpoints” for each housing section, villas or apartments, with security guards “patrolling all the time.”
“For example, residents in the apartment section cannot enter the villa section [where He lives],” said Huang. “It’s so difficult for us to enter it even after all these years I spent here.”
Another local named Jun, who lives in a neighborhood near the resort and “hangs with friends at Royal Orchid” expressed similar disbelief at the attempted kidnapping.
“I’m surprised that this happened as He’s house has its own 24-hour security guard,” Jun said. “The security guards for the whole neighborhood always ask where you are going and sometimes required the homeowners to confirm before letting you go inside,” he added.