Husband Suspects Billionaire Wife Was Abducted By Police After She Vanished Off The Streets

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
Husband Suspects Billionaire Wife Was Executed By Police After She Vanished Off The StreetsCNN

A billionaire entrepreneur ‘disappeared’ off the streets of China, and her ex-husband thinks he knows what happened to her.

Weihong ‘Whitney’ Duan has been missing since September 5, 2017, and her ex-husband, Desmond Shum, believes the police have something to do with it.


Duan was said to have been China‘s most successful businesswoman and, in light of her disappearance, Shum has accused Chinese police of throwing her in jail or secretly executing her.

Shum wrote in his new book, Red Roulette:

She was last seen the day before in her sprawling office at Genesis Beijing, a $2.5 billion development project that she and I had built. There, Whitney had masterminded real estate projects worth billions more. And now suddenly she was gone.

Whitney Duan and Desmond Shum (Desmond Shum)Desmond Shum

People have since argued that Whitney’s disappearance shows how precarious it is to do business in China, where it’s claimed it’s less about a person’s achievements, and more about their connections to the red aristocracy, New York Post reports.

Early on in her career, Whitney was elected to be the executive assistant to the university president at the Nanjing Polytechnic Institute, something which gave her ‘a priceless education in how to deal with Chinese officials’, according to Shum.

He said, ‘She learned how to alter her attitude, tone of voice, and language depending on her interlocutor. Nanjing Polytechnic was closely associated with the People’s Liberation Army, so she also got a crash course in handling military officers.’

Eventually, Whitney went on to befriend the family of the incoming premier, Wen Jiabao, who was slated to take office in 2003.


Having Wen as her patron proved useful for Whitney who secured a number of lucrative real estate deals with his help. However, he demanded a 30% stake in each project he supported.

Wen Jiabao (PA)PA Images

The partnership was working well between Whitney and Wen until 2012 when it came to light that Wen’s family had accumulated a fortune worth more than $2.7 billion during his official career. Eventually, it was revealed that Whitney played a role in helping the family amass billions of dollars.

According to the New York Post, nothing makes Chinese residents angrier than when Party officials make money off their political influence.


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2012 also saw Party leader Xi Jinping named and shamed for having used his political influence in exchange for money.

In response to this, the Chinese premier created an ‘anti-corruption’ campaign and established a Communist Party branch in every company with more than 50 employees, as well as installing a Party representative on the board of every major non-state-owned company in the country.

He also predicted the ‘eventual demise of capitalism’ at the time and ‘the ultimate victory of socialism’.

Since then, hundreds of Chinese CEOs and billionaires have disappeared – Whitney included. Others have received jail sentences on corruption charges.

Party leader Xi Jinping (PA)PA Images

Whitney’s disappearance comes despite an agreement between Xi and the Wen family that supposedly granted Whitney amnesty.

She appeared safe from prosecution until befriending Sun Zhengcai, who had worked on the Beijing Airport project with Whitney. At the time of their meeting, Sun was being eyed up to run the city of Chongqing, as well as being groomed to become high up in the Communist Party. Some believed he was in line to become premier once Xi stepped down.

However, Xi later decided he didn’t want to step down as premier, going on to see Sun as a threat. Sun went on to be fired from Chongqing and placed under investigation for violating Party discipline in 2017.

Several months later, Whitney disappeared, and she hasn’t been seen since.

Four years on, Shum still doesn’t know what happened to his ex-wife, but continues to speculate that the secret police abducted her.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Billionaire, China, disappearance, Now, World News


New York Post
  1. New York Post

    How Whitney Duan became China’s richest woman, then vanished without a trace