A Chinese businessman who has been supplying stones for Padma Bridge project, among other projects, was strangled to death and buried at the backyard of his apartment block in the capital’s Banani on Wednesday.
The body of 47-year-old Gao Jianhui was exhumed from a sallow-grave on the backyard of the apartment building where the CCTV cameras were not functioning.
The body was attired with a red T-shirt and Khaki-trouser and buried upside down.
Police said the body bore no marks of injuries but they assumed he was killed by strangulation. There were also bloodstains. The Criminal Investigation Department collected evidences from the apartment and the backyard for the investigation.
Investigators suspected Jianhui was killed any time between he entered Suvastu Mahbuba Heights on road 23 of Banani at about 4:00pm on Tuesday and early morning on Wednesday. Jianhui’s wife and children are abroad.
The building register showed nothing unusual until 11:00pm on Tuesday as claimed by security supervisor Lavlu Ahmed. No CCTV footage was found after October 20.
Tensed Chinese nationals and officials from their embassy were seen at the building as the news spread.
The Gulshan crime division police along with other agencies including Detective Branch, Rapid Action Battalion, Criminal Investigation Department and Police Bureau of Investigation, among others, joined hands in the investigation.
At least six people including the victim’s house aide Farida Begum, and their driver Sultan, security supervisor Lavlu Ahmed, guards Imran and Joy Nandi were detained for interrogation.
‘We suspected it’s related to his business affairs and we are looking for his all business connections,’ said Sudip Chakraborty, deputy commissioner of Gulshan police division.
Sudip said the victim was alone at his duplex apartment after he returned on Tuesday afternoon and the police at about 11:00am was informed that something was buried behind the building.
The businessman used the apartment as his residence cum office for over a year. The investigators said his wife and two children were out of the country since November 23 and were scheduled to return on Thursday.
Jianhui’s domestic aide Farida Begum of Mymenshingh said she came to the apartment as usual and was keeping up the house and found blood stain on her employer’s shoes. The building entry register showed she came 9:33am on Wednesday.
‘I was looking for my employer. He was not in the house but I found his door unlocked. I called [his] driver [Sultan] whether he went out with him. He replied negative and then I went to downstairs and inquired the security guards and they also said they did not see my employer going out of the building,’ said Farida.
Security guard Joy Nandi of Cumilla said he was on duty on the ground floor since 10:30pm Tuesday night to 6:30am on Wednesday. He used to work at Payra Thermal Power Plant and left the job in June 2019 five days before a violent clash there that left one Chinese and one Bangladeshi killed.
He did not see anything during his duty hours and he was on over time when the body was found.
One of the police personnel who reached the building first said Jianhui’s driver told them that his employer was buried behind.
‘We arrived around noon on information that a body was found then we cordoned off the area and informed crime scene unit,’ the police personnel said.
Detective branch deputy commissioner Mashiur Rahman said the CCTV cameras of the building went out of order for many days and none cared about it.
Suvastu properties IT official Jakir Hossain said they were informed after 10:00am on Wednesday that one went missing and the DVR was needed to be checked to trace him. ‘I found the CCTV camera facing backyard was disconnected and the power cord to the DVR was also disconnected and there was no storage of video after October 22,’ said Jakir Hossain.
The body sent to the Dhaka Medical College for post mortem examination.
Process of recording a case was on with Banani police.
Jianhui was living in Dhaka since 2016 with his family and initially he used to live in the capital’s Uttara and later moved to Banani one year ago.
Gulshan police additional deputy commissioner Abdul Ahad said the victim did not lodge any complaint over his security with the police.
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