Back in the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, Liu Xiyong, the billionaire owner of the Kimberley Hotel in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district, belonged to the crème de la crème of Chinese private entrepreneurs who had struck it rich through their deep, intricate political connections.
Liu, who was also known as Stephen Lau Hei-wing in Hong Kong, reportedly earned his fortune by dealing in lucrative textile quotas with the help of senior officials from the Ministry of State Security, China’s answer to the CIA. A smooth-talking and savvy businessman, he rubbed shoulders with the elites of Hong Kong and the mainland, and married a celebrity anchor who worked for China Central Television, the state broadcaster.
In 2016, he disappeared from public view and was reportedly arrested on the mainland on bribery charges. But it was only in September last year, during the trial of nine Chinese prosecutors that it was revealed he had been tortured to death the year before.