The disappearance last week of the 11th richest man in China, Guo Guangchang, attracted attention from major international news agencies, such as the BBC, CNN, the Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal. The billionaire abruptly reappeared at a Shanghai company event yesterday without acknowledging that he had gone missing.
It was first speculated that he was detained by police for graft, as witnesses claimed they saw him dragged away by police at a Shanghai airport.
On Friday, Fosun, Guangchang’s investment firm, affirmed that Guangchang was with police, saying he was “aiding an investigation.” It is common in China for officials to first claim they are “assisting investigations” before they are officially named as suspects.
Guo appeared only briefly at the Fosun strategy meeting at the Kerry Hotel Pudong yesterday morning. People there said he didn’t address his disappearance nor the investigation, and that he left before the meeting was over.
There were no police seen at the hotel, but professional security officers kept reporters away from the ballroom. Nobody has mentioned if the security was wearing smiley stickers.
Guo’s whereabouts are once again unknown. Following his disappearing act, the share price of Fosun International Ltd dropped nearly 10% and Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical fell from 12% to 3.8%, underscoring the uncertainty of the situation.
By Mary DeMay