Zhao Jingjun, a mainland businessman, was horrified to discover that the over HK$270 million of gold bullion (around 217 million RMB) he bought in Africa was swapped for worthless metal bars. Police are currently looking into a possible counterfeit scheme, which if uncovered, could prove to be the biggest heist of the decade.
Expecting to see a fraction of the 998kg gold bars before him, Zhao opened part of his shipment in front of his buyer in Hong Kong and discovered his bullion had been switched.
The golden goods, all 14 cases, were accompanied by his staff from Ghana on a private flight last month. “Officers were told that his employee confirmed the cases contained the gold before it was loaded onto the chartered flight in Ghana,” explained a police source.
After the bullion arrived in Hong Kong Zhao’s employee left the delivery to the staff of a logistics company at Chek Lap Kok airport where it was then couriered to a Tsuen Wan warehouse.
Zhao Jingjun arrived in Hong Kong on Monday as he was set to meet his buyer on Wednesday for their meeting.
He’d arranged for five of the cases to be couriered to the buyer’s office in Hung Hom, but according to the source, “when he opened the boxes, he found they were filled with metal bars instead of gold bullion,”.
Zhao presented documents to the police proving that he bought the bullion in Ghana and that they were delivered to Hong Kong. However, a police investigator said: “We don’t rule out the possibility that the gold bullion may have been switched for metal bars before being delivered to Hong Kong.” Stealthy work indeed, but I wouldn’t like to be the one on the receiving end of Zhao’s temper if they are ever found out.
A similar incident occurred 4 years ago when 265 gold bars were taken from a Yuen Long company. Fortunately police recovered most of the missing HK$90 million and arrested three men in connection with the crime so there is hope for Zhao yet.
[Pic via kinibiz.com]
By Sophie Regan