Asia-Pacific

Chinese billionaire developer arrested over child abuse allegations

The 57-year-old was the chair of prominent real estate company Seazen. Source: Getty Images

Police in Shanghai have formally arrested Chinese real estate billionaire Wang Zhenhua amid allegations of child molestation.

Authorities in Shanghai have arrested a prominent real estate mogul over the suspected molestation of a young girl.

Local Chinese media have identified the man arrested as Wang Zhenhua – a billionaire real estate developer based in Shanghai.

A woman was also arrested in relation to the alleged molestation of a 9-year-old girl late last month.

"Police adopt a 'zero tolerance' attitude toward crimes against minors and will severely crack down on such crimes in accordance with law," Shanghai police said in a statement. 

The crime is alleged to have happened in an upscale hotel in Shanghai – the girl told her mother about the alleged assault, who then contacted the local police.

Mr Wang, 57, was the chair of prominent real estate company Seazen and reports of his arrest have sent stocks in his company, including Future Land, crashing.

“We feel deeply sorry for the pain felt by the victim, and the victim’s family who are caught up in the storm,” Seazen, which is owned by Future Land, said in a statement. 

“Anything that harms a minor is a severe offense. Seazen absolutely supports and agrees with the authorities in handling this case.”

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Mr Wang’s fortune has already plunged by around AU $2 billion since he was charged.

Mr Wang has also been stripped of some official government memberships, with the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) revoking his membership.

The allegations have been covered widely by local media – including state broadcasters.

In China, sexual molestation of children carries of maximum sentence of five years.

The investigation continues.

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