Zong Qinghou, 67, who was for years believed to be China’s richest man, was attacked on Friday morning in a residential area of Hangzhou city. Mr. Qinghou rarely, if ever, traveled with bodyguards; something that he may wish to reconsider, having fallen victim to a knife-wielding attacker that severed the tendons that control fingers on his left hand. Mr. Zong underwent surgery and is expected to recover from the wounds he sustained.
China’s official news agency, Xinhau, said that the attacker was arrested within an hour of the attack, which was steeped in revenge. The suspect had been looking for work and the attack came after he failed to get a job with Wahaha, Xinhua reported.
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He asked Mr Zong, a self-made billionaire, for a job after seeing him helping impoverished migrant workers on a television program, but was rebuffed, state media claimed. One would think that his chance for a second interview would seem to be in jeopardy following his rash actions.
There were conflicting reports about the extent of Mr Zong’s injuries. Hong Kong media initially carried reports that the soft drinks magnate had undergone “reattachment operations” on his fingers.
China’s richest man injuries
However, Mr Zong claimed he was suffering “only minor injuries and was now recovering well,” Xinhua said. The drinks tycoon had “sustained injuries to tendons in two fingers of his left hand.”
Mr. Zong truly comes from humble beginnings, having spent a portion of his life as a lollipop salesmen. His fortune is presently estimated at 115 billion yuan, nearly $19 billion, yet the businessman remains humble, claiming his only hobbies are smoking cigarettes and drinking tea. Adding to his humble legend, the businessman claimed he had turned down meetings with David Cameron and the Queen during a trip to the UK in February. Mr Zong offered no evidence to support those claims.
Wahaha Group listing
The Wahaha Group started as a factory, affiliated with a primary school in 1987, and grew into one of the top 500 private enterprises in China, according to Xinhua. Not bad for a man who was forced to abandon school during Mao’s Cultural Revolution during his teenage years to work in the countryside.
As the largest beverage enterprise in China, the group’s revenue in 2012 reached 63.63 billion yuan. It employs 30,000 people and has 32 billion yuan in fixed assets.