China’s second richest man hurt in knife attack

Chinese billionaire Zong Qinghou speaks during a press conference in Beijing, on July 17, 2013. Zong -- China's second richest man -- has been attacked and injured by a would-be job applicant wielding a knife/AFP

Chinese billionaire Zong Qinghou speaks during a press conference in Beijing, on July 17, 2013. Zong — China’s second richest man — has been attacked and injured by a would-be job applicant wielding a knife/AFP

SHANGHAI September 18- Multi billionaire Zong Qinghou, China’s second richest man, was attacked and injured by a would-be job applicant wielding a knife, official media said Wednesday.

Zong, China’s richest man until he was dethroned last week, is chairman of the country’s leading beverage producer Wahaha Group. Forbes magazine estimates his personal wealth at $11 billion, second only to Wang Jianlin, head of conglomerate Wanda Group, on $14 billion.

An unemployed man armed with a knife approached Zong near his home in the eastern city of Hangzhou on Friday and asked him for a job with Wahaha, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

When he was rebuffed the man, surnamed Yang, turned violent and attacked the 67 year old tycoon, it said, citing police. He suffered injuries to tendons in two fingers of his left hand.

Yang, 49, from Suzhou in the neighbouring province of Jiangsu, was arrested on the same day as the attack.

Xinhua quoted Zong saying the attack was just an “accident” and he had “recovered well”, adding that the group said he had returned to work.

The Hong Kong Commercial Daily reported earlier Wednesday that the attack might have been revenge for the removal of executives at a Wahaha unit, citing an unnamed source.

Neither Wahaha nor police in Hangzhou could immediately be reached for comment by AFP.

Zong started his business in 1987 on a tricycle selling soft drinks and ice cream and built Wahaha into one of the top 500 private firms in China, according to the company’s website.

The company currently employs nearly 30,000 people in more than 70 production facilities across China. Its revenue reached 63.6 billion yuan ($10.4 billion) last year.

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