Cheung Tze-keung Pt. 1
This episode features discussions of kidnapping and violence that some people may find offensive listener discretion is advised especially for children under thirteen may twenty third nineteen ninety six thirty one year old. Victor Li had just finished a long day at work. He had to hurry if you wanted to make it to dinner at his father's home in the affluent deep Water Bay area of Hong Kong as the son of a business tycoon. Victor knew he was destined for great things he had received a top education at Stanford University and was poised to take over his father's company. Some day now. He only hoped he could live up to his dad's legacy nicknamed Superman by Hong Kong locals. Victor's father sixty eight year old. Li ka-shing had built his empire from the ground up. Victor on the other hand had only ever known wealth his whole life had been filled with privilege and he wondered if Hong Kong would embrace him the way they had his father. These thoughts weighed on victor's mind as he made his way outside to the waiting Limo. If he had been paying more attention he might have noticed the forms lurking in the shadows as victor reached for the car door. Five men emerged from the darkness and grabbed him. They shoved a blindfold over his eyes. But not before. He caught a glimpse of what they were carrying machine. Guns who ever these men were. They weren't taking him to see his father. This is hostage a podcast original. Every week we tell the stories behind the most captivating hostage situations and the people inside them will also cover. The psychological tactics used in kidnapping situations. And what the human brain does win held captive. I'm Irma Blanco. I'm Carter Roy. You can find episodes of hostage and all other park asked originals for free on spotify or wherever you listen. Podcasts just dream hostage for free on spotify just opened the APP and type hostage in the search bar at par cast. Were grateful for you our listeners. You allow us to do what we love. So let us know how we're doing reach out on facebook and Instagram at par cast and twitter at podcast network. This is our first episode on one of Hong Kong's most ruthless crime bosses Chunky Kong. His obsession with wealth drove him to commit to kidnappings for ransom this week. We'll discuss Chung secons early life. And how his introduction to underground gambling fueled his obsession with wealth and status this led to increasingly dangerous crimes culminating with the kidnapping of his first victim. Victor Lee the son of one of Hong Kong's richest businessmen next week. We'll examine how one successful ransom left. Chum confident enough to try another will also explore the controversial agreement between Hong Kong and Chinese courts that ultimately decided his fate John. T-com was an unlikely kidnapper but his love of money and his criminal background led him to attempt his most notorious crimes. The kidnapping of Victor Li in one thousand nine hundred ninety six and Walter. Kwok in one thousand nine hundred ninety seven to truly understand criminal like Chunky Kong. One would have to be acquainted with Hong Kong's history of gang violence and how it came to be. The island was first seated from the Chinese to the British in eighteen. Forty two at the end of the First Opium War in eighteen ninety eight. China agreed to lease the island to Britain for a period of one hundred years. Meaning that come. Nineteen ninety-seven Hong Kong would return to Chinese rule. Under British rule Hong Kong became an international trading port and experienced economic growth at a much faster pace than its neighbor. China differences in language and political ideology further divided. The two regions Hong Kong had a democratic government with elected officials while China was under a communist regime when the two countries did finally merge in the nineties the transition wouldn't be easy thus in the nineteen eighties both countries preemptively agreed on a principle called one country two systems which would allow Hong Kong to retain separate legal and judicial systems. Once they join China Hong Kong citizens would also retain some liberties not guaranteed to the Chinese such as freedom of speech and assembly essence. Hong Kong would fall under Chinese jurisdiction but it would retain a separate identity when it came to internal politics. These rights are insured to Hong Kong until twenty forty seven however one country two systems played perfectly into the hands of certain criminals. Those smart enough to commit crimes on one side of the border and hide out on the other. Neither Hong Kong nor China is a stranger to organized crime or gang activity. The region's most prolific organization called the triads originated in Seventeenth Century. China and has continued to gain power ever since triads are expected to accept each other as blood brothers never failing to offer a fellow member food shelter or financial assistance. There's a strict hierarchy to the gang and an elaborate initiation process complete with sacred poetry and ceremonial speeches. Prospective members also agree to the thirty six oaths elaborate code of conduct that spells out how they must honor their brotherhood protect their reputations and never betrayed the organization the punishment for defying. Any of the thirty six oaths is grizzly. The offending gang member will be killed by five thunderbolts or by a myriad of swords in effect they could be executed by a firing squad or stabbed by an onslaught of weapons. When Hong Kong came. Under British rule in eighteen forty two the triad were a prime target for police so the gang broke into smaller factions. Instead of weakening them the strategy only increased the triads power by the nineteen sixties. There were at least sixty different triad gangs in Hong Kong and police estimated that one in six citizens belong to one. The triads made their money primarily through the drug trade but they also often resorted to illegal gambling. Extortion fraud or prostitution for a time. The triads were too prevalent and powerful for the police to touch between nineteen fifty and nineteen seventy triads. Were all but running. Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City. Originally in old Chinese military Fort Calhoun was the only section of Hong Kong that China had refused to hand over to the British in Eighteen. Ninety Eight Kowloon Walled City technically remained a part of China but even China lacked a clear initiative for the area as a result it was something of a no-man's-land crammed with over thirty thousand people. The area became a hotbed for crime violence theft and drugs by the mid nineteen hundreds. It was so out of control. The police adopted an unofficial hands-off policy for the area. They were no longer going to risk their lives trying to control the neighborhood. Outsiders were too afraid to enter. Kowloon and bus drivers and Waste Management. Employees refused to set foot inside its parameters either. The triads heyday was limited. In one thousand nine hundred eighty seven. The British and Chinese governments announced a joint plan to Demolish Kowloon walled city. The Hong Kong Police Force also introduced the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau specifically meant to combat gang crimes as they inevitably spilled out of the ruin neighborhood by the Early Nineteen Ninety S. The wall city had been completely torn down. Most triad activity was driven underground from this point on gang members generally stock to smaller tier targets believing the ultra wealthy. Hong Kong business tycoons to be too high profile to connected to police and therefore too risky to pursue that. None of this mattered to one criminal. Chung see Kong in nineteen fifty five Chunky Kong was born in Gangdong province China to a poor farming family in a rural mountain town. Life was so difficult that Chung sister died of starvation effort to save his wife and four year. Old Son Chung's father. Smuggled the family over the border into Hong Kong in Hong Kong. Chung's father opened an herbal drink shop and yell. Matei an area known to be frequented by criminals and gangsters but it still wasn't enough to support his family to supplement his income. Chung's father started as Zepa or illegal lottery. Stand every week. Chung watched his father collect the entry fees from the participants always kept a cut for himself before handing over the remaining pile of cash to the lucky winner. The fact that this was illegal didn't register with Cheung. All he saw for dollar signs. Emily Mendez a mental health and substance. Abuse expert explains that children who grow up around gambling. Don't always see this risky behavior as a big deal. They're more prone to develop gambling addictions as teens and young adults given their early exposure. This seemed to be the case for Chung who would become a high stakes gambler. Later in life and as a criminal he became adept at taking major risks. It was all a part of the life. He had known since childhood at School in Hong Kong. Chong a bright enthusiastic learner but he was shunned by the other students for being an immigrant from mainland China. As the school outcast Chung learn to toughen up in order to survive. He eventually fell in with some local gang members before long teenage Chung had pledged allegiance to the famous fourteen k triad as Chong became acquainted with the Organization. He no longer understood the point in continuing his education after all his father earned enough money through illegal means. Why couldn't he owned by age? Sixteen Chung had dropped out of school left his family's home and risen through the triad ranks to become a leader and he had a rap sheet to show for it. Chung had already been arrested nearly fifteen times for assault theft N. robbery police regarded him as a hardened criminal entreated him as such not giving him any leniency even though he was still a minor over the next three years the teenager was in and out of jail prison was. Chung's first losing hand. Inmates were treated more like animals than human beings and the guards thought. Nothing of denying them basic necessities. Chung was determined that once he left prison he would never return even if it meant giving up his burgeoning criminal career. Each twenty newly released from prison. John Attempted to live in accordance with the law as father helped him secure a tailoring apprenticeship but his resolution short lived while working for the Taylor. John met someone who changed his outlook on crime. Chung's coworker a man named Wong thing. She explained that. The only surefire way to become rich was through illegal means but in order to be successful. One had to be as careful and meticulous as a Taylor. Every stitch must be perfectly placed or else the whole garment unraveled armed with this. New Outlook Chong embarked on a loan shark venture which proved moderately successful with payments. Finally Rolling in two things became very clear to Cheung Kong money. Was everything an earning. It legitimately was for suckers around this time in the late seventies Chung began so sitting with gang members in the Kowloon walled city. The region was still controlled by the triad. Gang and police maintain their hands off policy. It was there that Chung learned that gambling wasn't the only way to rake in a quick payout. Armed robbery paid pretty well to street. Fighting and petty theft escalated to more dangerous ventures for Chung and he soon joined forces with another career criminal twenty-three-year-old daredevil Yip Kifune where Chung was a meticulous planner. Yip had less inhibitions. He was willing to charge into a situation. Headfirst guns blazing. If they worked together they would make a dynamic duo having joined forces. The two criminals plan their biggest heist yet. It would be bold daring and risky but if it worked they'd get the pay out of their lives coming up. Chung see Kong takes his first massive gamble. Par cast listeners. If you enjoy stories about crime mystery and the unexplained you'll absolutely love the new park cast original series supernatural with Ashley Flowers. It's hosted by Crime Junkies Ashley Flowers and you can hear new episodes every Wednesday. Almost mysteries can be solved by looking at the facts but sometimes the facts don't lead to a logical explanation and the truth lies somewhere in the unknown in supernatural with Ashley. Flowers actually takes a deep dive into the strange and surreal to explain some the world's most bizarre true crime occurrences each week. She'll dig into a different crime or mystery where the most fitting theory isn't always the most conventional from exorcisms to unsolved murders to alien abductions. Ashley will take on. The tails challenged the unexplained anti-sect the facts with a heavy helping skepticism and rationale. So are you ready to get to the bottom of history's most peculiar events? Follow supernatural with Ashley. Flowers free on spotify. Or wherever you get your podcasts. Now back to the story after joining forces with another young gangster. Yep Kifune up and coming criminal thirty-four-year-old Chunky Kong decided. The time was ripe to plan a massive heist. They would steal a shipment of Rolex watches bound for the Hong Kong airport as the two men put their plan together. Chung remembered the advice given to him by his old CO worker. Wong Chee like a Taylor. Chung had to be meticulous. Every last detail mattered in preparation for the job. Chong-in Yep hired several henchmen. Chung made sure they knew to cover their faces and move quickly to avoid being identified by the police on February. Twenty Second Nineteen Ninety Chung. Yip an a few of their associates made their way to Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong. The men were wearing bulletproof vests and carrying heavy weapons but if everything went according to plan they wouldn't need them. Chung had a code of honor. He ordered his men to never harm civilians to only fire their weapons when absolutely necessary and to act as a unit a brotherhood parked at the airports delivery bay where an armored van would be arriving with the watches. The car arrived on schedule so far. So good wants to Van. Parked Chung gave the signal. The gangs swarm the armored van waving their guns around for intimidation. The delivery guards were easily outflanked. The criminals broke open the vehicle and grabbed as much merchandise as possible loading up armfuls of the expensive watches before escaping. They had stolen millions of dollars worth of products and fled unscathed. In under a minute. They slipped across the border into China to count their loot as the brains of the operation. Chung took forty percent of the spoils for himself. Divvying up the rest. Among the other men the Rolex Heist was so successful that a year later Chung. Yup and they're men decided to plan another robbery. This time they would target. An armored car said to be carrying seventeen point five million. Us dollars in thirty five million Hong Kong dollars not only was the potential loot going to be a bigger take than the watch heist. It was a lot riskier to an armored car would have trained security guards wielding automatic weapons. Had to be perfect if the gang didn't want to be caught or killed with this in mind Chung Yep and three other gangsters suited up with their own semiautomatic weapons then on July Twelfth Nineteen ninety-one. They headed back to the KAI. Tak Airport took their places and waited. When the armored car arrived Chung gave the go-ahead chaos ensued but the five gang members easily. Outmatched the armed guards in minutes Chung Yip and the others were driving off with approximately twenty million. Us dollars in cash. It was the largest single cash haul in Hong Kong's history to date once safely across the Chinese border. The thieves divided the money as before. Chong kept the largest share of the profits but divided the rest fairly among his men triads believed in brotherhood and taking care of each other. If Chung got rich they all would and rich he was Chung. Now have the money to do anything he pleased. And he used to indulge in his favorite hobby gambling every casino visit followed the same pattern an ostentatious yellow lamborghini rolled up to the entrance. A man stepped out. John was rather small with bushy eyebrows was always dressed in designer labels from head to toe. He certainly stood out in a crowd. Once inside he would immediately flagged down a cocktail server and order the most expensive whiskey on the menu. Tipping the waiter more money than they usually made in a week then. John made his way over to circle of friends where he ordered more drinks and food eventually. He switched to his preferred beverage orange juice. Chung was wary of drinking too much. He didn't want to become undignified. You had to concentrate on schmoozing and placing bets. None of his casino pals had any idea that Chung was one of the world's most notorious gangsters they all believed he was in the jewelry business. They didn't know that his only experience with jewelry stores was robbing them at gunpoint. In fact they didn't even know his real name Chong simply went by the nickname they had given him. Big Spender one night. Big Spender sat at one of the tables and started placing his bats. He won then he went again. He double down again and again. His friends looked on in awe. As the Jackpot reached the millions Chung placed his final bet and lost it all just like that. Cheung was out of what amounted to twenty five million. Us dollars his entourage expected their resident high roller to shout or flip over the table but Chung remained astonishingly calm instead. He finished his orange juice and suggested that the group continued the party at his town house. The guests were treated to a tour of big spenders apartment passing his pricey art collection which consisted of mostly tablist and Buddhist statues as well as busts of himself and a sphinx like statue of his wife. Luo Yan Fong. One guest wandered into Cheung's massive bedroom where a giant letter M. was carved into the headboard Chung explained that the m stood for money. All thanks to money. The world was at his fingertips until it all came crashing down distracted by gambling and partying. Chung it slipped a few months after the armored car heist. The police successfully identified him. As the number one suspect they put pressure on local triad members to come forward with anything tying the incidents to Chung even went after Chong's wife and shook her down for information but to no avail in the end to Chung's men turned on him and September of Nineteen Ninety one. He was tried for the armed robbery and sentenced to eighteen years in prison. We'll Chunky Kong was no stranger to life behind bars. This time was different. It was wealthy now and a respected. If elusive member of Hong Kong's high-society. He couldn't believe that the police had the audacity to lock him up in his mind. These officers were the real criminals. They took money from the taxpayers and used it to go after innocent. People like him as opposed to violent offenders. This perspective isn't uncommon among criminals. Stanton knee SAM now. A clinical psychologist reports that nearly all criminal offenders view themselves as good people. They often excuse their behavior by citing their religion and good deeds or by stating that other criminals have committed more heinous crimes than themselves while in prison. Chung claimed that he was treated. He alleged that in order to get a confession from him. Police officers hit him with sticks and whipped him with belts he also said. They tortured his wife leaving both of them with scars. Chong wasted away in prison losing any hope of speedy appeal however only eighteen months into his lengthy sentence lock was back on Chung side. During one of his appeals. A guard who was present at the Kai. Tak robbery failed to properly identify Chung. The charges were dropped in June. Nineteen ninety five. The forty year old Cheung Kong was released from prison but John was hardly in the mood to celebrate his newfound freedom. His time behind bars had left him. Extremely bitter what. Good were his promises to remain nonviolent. If he ended up in prison with the murderers anyway to make matters worse his own triad brothers had betrayed him. The UNBREAKABLE BONDS OF THE TRIAD BROTHERHOOD. Apparently could be broken. Chang's honor codes seemed irrelevant to him now. He found himself at a crossroads and decided to move forward alone. All he had to do was pick his next crime at this point. Chun had run the gamut of armed robbery yet proven to himself that he was as capable of executing seemingly impossible heists as he was small theft he felt confident that he can pull off a crime of even greater magnitude. It also had to be more lucrative. Prison HADN'T TAMED. Chung's appetite for wealth. If anything it made him more insatiable Roderick Broadhurst a professor of criminology noted that Chun's willingness to go to extremes for money isn't really uncommon. We live in a society measured by wealth and status. So it's unsurprising that when people can't earn the money they desire through conventional means. They turned to innovative. In sometimes illegal methods. Chung was no exception. He was obsessed with money and he would stop at nothing to feed his greed. With this goal in mind he settled on his most radical scheme. Yet it was going to kidnap the ten richest men Hong Kong and hold them for ransom. Coming up Chung goes after his first victim back to the story in June. Nineteen ninety-five forty-year-old. Cheung Kong had recently been released from his second stint in prison. But this time he made no effort to turn his life around and go legit he had gotten a taste of the good life and he was willing to do anything to hold onto it including kidnapping people for ransom. Chong had devised a dramatic scheme. He was going to abduct the ten wealthiest men in Hong Kong and hold them for ransom. Having settled on this plan Chung got down to the specifics who to kidnap I ultimately. He decided on thirty one year old. Victor Lee the son of one of Hong Kong's wealthiest businessmen and the heir to his father's Fortune Chauncey. Kahn had a lot in common with victor's father. Sixty eight year old. Li ka-shing neither grew up particularly wealthy and both men had taken huge risks that resulted in vast wealth. But while Chong used illegal means Li ka-shing had honed his legacy honestly in one thousand nine hundred ninety six sixty eight year old businessman. Li ka-shing was the richest man. In Asia. Hong Kongers affectionately referred to him as Superman for his quintessential rags to riches tale Li ka-shing and his family fled to Hong Kong from mainland China during the Second World War. Shortly afterwards lease father died of tuberculosis saddling. His sixteen year old son with financial responsibility for the whole family Lee began working at a factory where he was eventually promoted to manager by the age of twenty two. He had saved up enough meager earnings to open his very own plastics factory. Cheung Kong Industries Lease Company proved to be massively successful and he used his profits to branch out into other lucrative industries shrewd businessman. He invested in energy solutions technologies and building developers throughout the world as well as real estate in Hong Kong in spite of his wealth. Li ka-shing was well loved. He had a solid reputation for being a man of his word stating that a verbal yes or no is as good as a written contract and he was a very modest family man. His pride and joy in life was his son. Victor Thirty one year old. Victor had spent his formative years being groomed to take over. Cheung Kong Industries. He studied civil engineering at Stanford University before moving to Vancouver where he oversaw one of his father's subsidiary companies Husky Energy. When Victor came aboard the company was doing quite poorly but victor side as an opportunity to prove himself by one thousand nine hundred ninety Husky energy was thriving and Victor. Li had been promoted to co-chairman impressed by his sons initiative. Li ka-shing invited victor to return to Hong Kong and worked directly underneath him at Cheung Kong headquarters by Nineteen ninety-six thirty one year old. Victor was well established at Cheung Kong. Little did he know that criminal mastermind. Cheung Kong was watching his every move. Chung's men gathered information. About what time victor left home in the morning? How long it took him to get to work. What kind of car? He drove and where he went to lunch. Once Chung piece together victor schedule he discovered that on May Twenty Third Nineteen ninety-six. Victor was scheduled to visit his father's home in deep water. Bay Chung thought. This was as good a time as any to strike the evening of May Twenty Third. Victor wrapped up his last meeting for the day. He was looking forward to a quiet night with his family and his dark blue. Nissan President Limousine was waiting outside for him but Chunky Kong and four other men were waiting for him to victor. Li casually tossed his briefcase into the back seat of the Waiting Limo. But before he had a chance to slide into his seat he was blindsided. Five men tackled him shoving a blindfold over his face in a split second before he was blindfolded. Victor caught a glimpse of the assault. Rifles that Chung in the four other men were carrying you felt calloused hands. Hold his arms behind his body while someone else bound his wrists and legs with chains. Victor heard several different voices but he couldn't tell how many from what he could tell. One man was in charge. The whole ordeal happened. In a matter of seconds even victor's driver couldn't react fast enough to help Chung and his men tossed victor into a waiting truck and started driving hours past. Victor had no idea where they were headed. He was worried they had crossed the border into China or his chances of being discovered were slim after what felt like ours. Victor was dragged from the car and tossed into a small dark place that had wooden walls and no windows. This was hardly a room. It was more like a wooden crate. The kind used for shipping cargo one of the henchmen handed victor a bowl of steamed pork and rice. He accepted not knowing when or if he was going to get any more food. Victor wondered if he should just ask the man what was going on or what they wanted from him but that could potentially be more dangerous. You decided to keep his mouth shut. All he could do was wait for answers. Meanwhile at Lea- ka-shing's palatial home in Deep Water Bay Road Victor's billionaire father anxiously awaiting his arrival. Dinner was almost ready. And it wasn't like victor to be so late. Finally the doorbell rang. One of the maids went to the door. Expecting to see victor but her jaw dropped in terror when she saw a different familiar face to recognized him from the newspaper. Chunky Kong the criminal. Who Had Rob Kai Tak? Airport Chung demanded to see Li ka-shing immediately. He informed -ly that if he ever wanted to see his son again it would cost him two billion Hong Kong dollars. Thanks again for tuning into hostage each next week. We'll be back to discuss. How Chung seekonk secured the biggest ransom payment in history and how one kidnapping eventually led to another. You can find more episodes of hostage and all other par- cast originals for free on spotify. Not only to spotify already. Have all your favorite music but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all your favorite podcast originals like hostage for free from your phone desktop or smart speaker to stream hostage on spotify. Just open the APP and type hostage in the search bar and don't forget to follow us on facebook and Instagram at par cast and twitter at Park has network. We'll see you next time. In the meantime don't take your freedom or granted hostage was created by Max Cutler. And as a podcast studios original executive producers include Max Enron cutler sound designed by Russell Nash With Production Assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden and Aaron Larson. This episode of hostage was written by Kathleen Cruiser with Writing Assistance by Kate Gallagher and stars Irma Blanco and Carter Roy listeners. Don't forget to check out the new podcast. Original series supernatural with Ashley. Flowers every Wednesday. Take a deep dive into the strange and surreal to find the truth behind. Some of the world's most bizarre crimes trust me. These episodes are weird and wonderful search for supernatural with Ashley Flowers in the spotify APP and listen free today.