Kwok Wing-hung was detained on yesterday night (July 21) for “conspiracy to commit criminal intimidation, conspiracy to wound with intent and conspiracy to blackmail”, police said in a statement issued today (July 22).
Famed for his ever-present 70s-style sunglasses and swept-forward bowl haircut, Kwok, 58, had dropped off the radar for seven months, according to local media.
He had been put on a police wanted list and was arrested at Hong Kong airport by officers from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau, the South China Morning Post reported.
Video from the Oriental Daily showed Kwok, wearing a dark suit, being escorted by officers into a police van at the city’s airport after reportedly arriving from Phuket.
Controversial businessman Kwok’s public profile rose in 2012 after he was reportedly seen dining with a campaign director for the city’s current leader Leung Chun-ying, who was then a candidate for chief executive.
That led to questions over whether Leung and his team were in collusion with the triads.
Kwok was back in the headlines in December after reports that he had been punched in the face by a mystery attacker while having afternoon tea at Hong Kong’s Peninsula Hotel.
After treatment at a private hospital, Kwok brushed off the incident, saying that he had bumped into a table corner.
Local media said the attack was related either to a dispute over his mistress, or to financial problems with his Macau business.
Days after the attack, Kwok called a much-anticipated press conference but failed to show up.
While Hong Kong prides itself on rule of law and being a vital regional financial hub, it has never been able to shake off a darker side to its reputation as a hotbed for organised Chinese criminal networks.
That reputation came to the fore once more during 2014’s mass pro-democracy protests.
The police and the government were forced to deny allegations that they were working with criminals after masked thugs attacked protesters at a demonstration camp in Mong Kok – a working-class district known for its triad gangs.