Four people linked to a Hong Kong bookstore which has stocked titles highly critical of the ruling Chinese Communist Party have been “delayed,” believed detained by Chinese authorities, while on a visit to Thailand.
Owner Gui Haiming, general manager Lu Bo, store manager Lin Rongji, and staff member Zhang Zhiping of publisher and bookstore company Sage Communications are believed to be in China after having been detained there or in Thailand, their associates told RFA.
Gui and Lin called their wives to reassure them on Friday, but little information about their whereabouts was forthcoming, according to a fellow Sage shareholder surnamed Li.
“They said they were OK, but they’re not OK,” Li said. “They just told their loved ones they would be coming back a bit later than expected, and told them not to worry.”
“But they didn’t answer any questions about where they were or what they were doing,” he said.
Gui, who holds a Swedish passport, went missing in mid-October while on a trip to Thailand, where he owns a holiday home, while Lu and Zhang stopped communicating around Oct. 22-24 after trips back to their family homes in mainland China, Li said.
Li only discovered that Gui, whose company publishes 3-4 books a month on Chinese politics and current affairs, was incommunicado after being contacted by the printers of the next book.
“Usually, he would get back to the printers by the following day if it was urgent, but the printers had been looking for him for a week,” he said.
It is unclear where Lin was when he lost contact with friends and family.
“He used to sleep over at the bookstore a lot, so his wife didn’t know he was missing,” Li said.
Gui has previously published titles critical of the administration of President Xi Jinping, including The Great Depression of 2017, and The Collapse of Xi Jinping in 2017.
Calls to Lu Bo’s and Zhang Zhiping’s cell phones rang unanswered on Friday, while Lin reportedly owns no cell phone.
Repeated calls to the Shenzhen municipal police department, just across the internal border from Hong Kong, also rang unanswered.
An employee who answered the phone at the Swedish consulate in Hong Kong said the consulate was unaware of the reports.
Gui and his colleagues wouldn’t be the first in their profession to be targeted by Beijing.
In May 2014, a court in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Wednesday handed a 10-year jail term to 79-year-old Hong Kong publisher Yiu Man-tin after he edited a book highly critical of President Xi Jinping. Read the rest of this entry »
A defense contractor who is the central figure in a wide-ranging Navy bribery scandal pleaded guilty on Thursday to providing cash, prostitutes, free hotel rooms and gifts worth millions of dollars to gain maintenance and supply contracts in Asian ports that overbilled the Navy by $20 million.
In a federal court in San Diego, Leonard Francis, known by his nickname “Fat Leonard,” pleaded guilty to bribery and fraud charges related to a decade-long conspiracy to gain the contracts that he said involved “scores” of U.S. Navy officials. Francis was the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) a Singapore-based company that provided fuel, supplies, tugboats and sewage disposal to U.S. Navy ships when they arrived in ports.
“Francis admitted that he gave millions of dollars in extravagant gifts and expenses to Navy officials including $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitution services; travel expenses, including first class airfare, luxurious hotel stays and spa treatments.”
Leonard gave the Navy officials lavish gifts to gain classified information about the scheduled movement of U.S. Navy ships in Asia so he could block out competitors and then overbill the Navy for his company’s services, prosecutors said.
“He also provided officials with lavish meals, including Kobe beef, Spanish suckling pigs, Cuban cigars, designer handbags and even tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.”
Francis admitted that he gave millions of dollars in extravagant gifts and expenses to Navy officials including $500,000 in cash; hundreds of thousands of dollars in prostitution services; travel expenses, including first class airfare, luxurious hotel stays and spa treatments. He also provided officials with lavish meals, including Kobe beef, Spanish suckling pigs, Cuban cigars, designer handbags and even tickets to a Lady Gaga concert.
“It is astounding that Leonard Francis was able to purchase the integrity of Navy officials by offering them meaningless material possessions and the satisfaction of selfish indulgences. In sacrificing their honor, these officers helped Francis defraud their country out of tens of millions of dollars. Now they will be held to account.”
— U.S. Attorney Laura E Duffy
When sentenced in April Francis could face up to 25 years in prison. In admitting his guilt he and his company agreed to repay the Navy $35 million. He has been cooperating with investigators and additional Naval officials may be implicated.
So far the investigation has involved eight Navy officials, including a Naval Criminal Services Investigative Services (NCIS) agent who would tip Francis off to ongoing investigations into his conduct.
Corrupt New Orleans Ex-Mayor Ray Nagin Reports to Prison, Pre-Sold to Leo ‘Big Daddy’ Jackson for a Carton of Lucky StrikesPosted: September 8, 2014
“Normally a new inmate would go for four, five cartons of cigarettes, more if he’s a celebrity. Nagin may be famous, but he’s a boring little bitch, he talks too much, and he has a bony ass.”
— Whitey Fitzgerald, inmate, former hedge fun manager
Nagin, a Democrat who left office in 2010, was convicted on 20 counts ranging from bribery and fraud to tax evasion. He reported to a federal prison in Texas on Monday.
“Competition for high-profile inmates is usually robust, with former elected officials being among the most desirable among bidders.”
— FCI prison guard
Pre-checkin bidding for the former New Orleans Mayor was less active than anticipated, according to prison guards. “Competition for high-profile inmates is usually robust, with former elected officials being among the most desirable among bidders.” No conclusive explanation was given for the lackluster interest in Nagin, though some speculate the overall prison economy might be a factor.
“I don’t care what the press says about him. Or my fellow inmates. I’m glad I won the bid for Ray. I think he’s cute.”
— Leo “Big Daddy” Jackson
“Less than favorable institutional access to tobacco products make it harder for our inmate population to negotiate effectively”, said Mark McGriffin, a convicted embezzler and former Clinton Administration advisor. “And other tradable commodities like gum, and playing cards don’t have the same intrinsic value.”
Whitey Fitzgerald, a former hedge fun manager, disagreed. Read the rest of this entry »
Former Beijing multimillionaire Xia Keming and his three companions were executed on Tuesday for killing eight people between 1999 and 2007, the Beijing Times observed on Wednesday.
Xia once served as a civil servant in Beijing. He was sentenced in 1988 to three years in prison for the illegaldealingof train tickets. After being released, Xia started a business in Shenzhen, and also owned 19 percent of shares in a Beijing-based company valued at more than 100 million yuan ($16 million).
The murder spree began when Xia asked his brother Xia Kezhi and two of his ex-cellmates to kill a business partner surnamed Liu.
In the following eight years, the four killed seven other people, including Xia Keming’s business partners, mistress and acquaintances.
To cover up their crimes, the gang bribed officials with cash, cars, luxury watches and expensive rosewood furniture. Read the rest of this entry »