Two Taiwan businessmen found killed in Guangdong province

Hsieh Kuo-lien, The China Post

The quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said two Taiwan businessmen and three of their mainland Chinese employees were murdered in a burglary early yesterday in the mainland’s southern province of Guangdong.

Liao Yun-yuan, director of the Taipei-based SEF’s economics and trade department, said yesterday afternoon that the two deceased Taiwan businessmen are Huo Kuo-li and Yeh Ming-yi. Liao told reporters that Huo and Yeh operated a factory in Foshan, Guangdong, where they made profits by disposing of waste metal.

Armed with knives, a group of assassins killed two of the factory dormitory’s security guards before breaking into Huo and Yeh’s bedroom on the second floor of the building.

The assassins forced the two businessmen and a worker of the factory to open a treasury in the building, before the burglars stabbed all three to death and fled with 1 million renminbi in cash. Another Taiwan businessman in Foshan told reporters in a telephone interview that the mainland police officers investigating the crime believe that the assassins are professionals. Huo’s son escaped the killing unharmed because he was sleeping in his bedroom on the first floor of the dormitory.

Viewing the case seriously, Foshan police authorities have sealed off the crime scene and conducted a thorough inspection there. More than 200 officers had launched an all-out search in the area in an attempt to arrest the killers as soon as possible. Liao Yun-yuan said they had informed the families of the two dead Taiwan men of all they knew about the case and had helped them travel to Fushan. The SEF official said the foundation has officially requested that its mainland counterpart, the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), offer all possible assistance to the families of the deceased who arrived in Foshan yesterday evening. Liao said they asked the law enforcement authorities in Guangdong to make every effort to arrest those responsible for the crime. Liao said he had also requested that ARATS officials allow the families to see the remains of the dead men. Huo’s neighbors in Taiwan were surprised when they were informed of the murder. With tears in her eyes, a woman neighbor of Huo said he and his wife, who are members of a Taiwan charity foundation, had never hesitated to provide needy neighbors with financial assistance. Many Taiwan businessmen who run factories or trading companies in the mainland are worried about their safety, as dozens of Taiwan businessmen have been killed or kidnapped by thugs, or even by their employees, in the last decade. A total of 49 Taiwan people have been killed in more than 300 cases of extortion and murder that took place in the mainland between Jan, 1991 and Dec, 2000, according to statistics released recently by the SEF. Most of the cases, according to the statistics, occurred in the big cities along the mainland’s southeastern coast and on Hainan Island. Earlier this month, two Taiwan businessmen who were killed in Guangdong were robbed of more than 1 million renminbi. Another Taiwan businessman was murdered by one of his security guards in Guangdong in March, while another was killed in the southern mainland province of Guangxi. Currently, many Taiwan businessmen hire body guards to ensure the safety of their own lives and those of their families who are working or studying at primary or middle schools in the mainland.