Kidnapping for profit is not something you associate with China, especially not Shanghai. That’s something for smaller economies and with smaller criminal classes. Via China Law Prof blog, a Forbes item on the dangers of doing business in China. Entrepreneur David Ji alleges that he was held hostage, had his life threatened and was forced to sign over his multi-million dollar business to a state-owned supplier.:
The video is dull and grainy, but it shows a real-life drama: A comeuppance for David Ji, a celebrated U.S.-bred entrepreneur who built a billion-dollar business importing dirt-cheap DVD players from a booming China, where he was born, and selling them at Wal-Mart and Circuit City stores in the U.S., his adopted home for two decades. As the camera rolled last December, Ji–a U.S. citizen held against his will in Shanghai by the authorities–glumly says he has signed over control of his company, Apex Digital, to a government-owned supplier that has accused him of a massive fraud.
In the video (an exclusive copy of which can be viewed by clicking here), Ji, age 53, is surrounded by his accusers in a spare condominium owned by the supplier, Sichuan Changhong Electric. A Changhong representative helpfully prods him along. The supplier insists Ji has waffled on paying $470 million for millions of U.S.-bound DVD units and TV sets it shipped to Apex, further charging that he kited $85 million in bogus checks.
What the video doesn’t show is this:The day before, an uncooperative Ji, flanked by guards, was taken to see Changhong’s senior management, Ji’s lawyer says. Inexplicably, agents snipped the buttons off of Ji’s shirt and pants, and as he stood there, humiliated and barefoot and holding on to his trousers so they wouldn’t fall down, a Changhong senior executive told him: “I decide whether you live or die.”
A Forbes report including video of the incident is here. There were obviously missteps on the part of Ji. However, the question of whether he was involved in fraud should be decided in the courts, not (if he is to be believed) through extortion.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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