In the north east of Provence, a small village called Bonnieux, standing on its highest ground, there is a church. At the backyard of this church, a murder has happened. It is this murder that turned this place into a world famous centre of attention.
2018, July 3rd, morning, the former chairman of the board of HNA, Wang Jian, ended his life of 57 years here.
This piece of news caused great sensation domestically in China and abroad. Every media fought to report on the death of Wang Jian. It was first reported by the French Media, on which written that before 11am, a Chinese tourist visiting the village of Bonnieux fell and struck the stairs nearby the church while taking photograph. He died ultimately after rescue effort failed.
Later, domestic news in China showed that HNA Group released the news of the unfortunate death of Wang Jian on the 4th July. It was reported that Wang Jian accidentally fell and seriously injured during his official visit to France. Afterward, he died in the hospital. The specific cause of death was not mentioned.
An article in a financial magazine described some details of the incident. It was written that Wang Jian lost consciousness on the spot and was taken to the hospital to be rescued. During the course of rescue, after Wang Jian uttered the only words to the doctor “leg hurts”, he died.
In a Reuters article, it was also mentioned that, according to the source from the police, Wang Jian attempted to climb up a low wall, looking at the scenery and taking photographs. When he was not successful in the first attempt of climbing up the wall, he also made a run-up for it.
These several media were the first to report after the death of Wang Jian with those details described here previously.
But, were they the truth?
After the incident happened, I sent teams of personnel to France for further investigation, seeking truth and hoping to learn the truth.
During the course of investigation, more and more evidence came to light showing that Wang Jian did not fall into his death because of taking photographs.
By the investigation team who was conducting an interview, we have a simple sighting of the condition of the place where the incident happened. From the video, we can clearly see that the low wall was about a meter high with a cliff over the other side.
Anyone with common sense would not have stood there taking photographs, not to mention that was a 57 years old billionaire. Furthermore, the low wall, according to the investigation team, had shown signs of being loose, extremely unstable. No one would climb up there voluntarily.
On the other hand, even if Chairman Wang Jian wanted to take photographs, first, the scenery of this place was not so great; second, the low wall did not block any of his view. So there was no need to climb up in order to take photographs.
Suffice to say that anyone who has seen the site would have arrived at the same conclusion. In that case, why would Chairman Wang Jian come here? Had he met with anyone? Right after Wang Jian fell, who called the police? Did Wang Jian tell the doctor about “leg hurts”?
The media consistently claimed that Wang Jian died from a fall. But, could murder be a possibility? To the series of puzzles, all would be gradually revealed.
In the subsequent investigation conducted by our investigation team, first, our investigation team found the hotel where Wang Jian stayed and got hold of his reservation record. It showed in the record that the room reservation was made by a person named Daniel Vial.
Daniel Vial had led the creation of a medical magazine. He knew the French medical history like the back of his hand. He had long been working in the consultation of pharmaceutical industry in France. He and the rich and powerful in China had frequent contacts.
In the early years, he was the lead organizer in establishing an organization called The Association of the Great Wall Rescue. It was to help French businesses entering the market in China.
After the death of Wang Jian, Vial accepted an interview of the French media, in which he admitted he personally organized this trip to the south of France for Wang Jian. He also intimated that Wang Jian had planned to purchase a Chateau in France.
Moreover, looking as his other correspondence, after Daniel Vial made the hotel reservation, he then contacted someone called Houa Gerard discussing matters concerning the relevant payment. Houa Gerard is Chinese French. He is the president of Fondation France Chine. HNA is the major member of this foundation. At that time, Houa Gerard is also the frequent passenger in the same private jet together with Wang Qishan’s family and HNA senior officers.
Apart from this information, it is clear from this list for the reservation of this visit it was for a suite as well as two double rooms. Occupants showed a Mr. Houa and two others named Sun Jinghao and Tain Ding respectively.
Although Wang Jian’s name was not seen, based on this list, it can be surmised from details such as a number of requests were made for Mr, Hous’s room, as well as the requirement of close proximity, between Tain Ding’s room and his boss’s room. Wang Jian was staying in the suite that the reservation was made under the name of Houa Gerard. Others would be staying in the other two double rooms.
Only knowing such limited amount of information is a far cry from reconstructing the original picture of what actually happened here. It could not tell us whom Wang Jian met or what things he had done prior to his death either.
Our team, after obtaining permission from the hotel, observed and filmed portions of the hotel CCTVs, from which we found some significant information.
First we take a look at the layout of the hotel. The area circled in the picture was properties belonged to the hotel. The circle on top, those several buildings were used as guest rooms and restaurants. There was a swimming pool and an area used for wedding events.
Across the street, the bottom area circled with blue line contains the guest rooms where Wang Jian and entourage stayed. It also contains a restaurant used in the morning for breakfast and a parking area for guests.
Let us verify again where the CCTV cameras were located. There were 4 camera locations here. They were No.1 camera pointed squarely at the rear of the parking area. Its field of vision is approximately the blue highlighted area. No. 2 camera served storage vicinity. No. 3 camera served the entering vicinity of hotel entrance. It is the connecting area of the guest rooms and restaurant, a necessary passage for going in and out of the hotel. No.4 camera pointed squarely at the parking area of the hotel entrance. All vehicles arriving or leaving the hotel are in plain view.
The field of vision would be approximately the red fan shape area. Wang Jian and entourage only appeared in cameras 3 and 4. So we only need to pay attention to the images captured by these two cameras.
One clarification to note, according to the staff working in the hotel, the monitor’s time setup has a 7-minutes error. The time shown is 7 minutes in advance of the actual time.
Now let us take a look at when did Wang Jian arrive at the hotel. On July 2nd, around 19.52, from the road on the right side of the hotel, two Mercedes Benz Multi-purpose vehicles were driven in. Three people alighted from the first vehicle. Four people alighted from the other vehicle. HNA chairman Wang Jian was this person who wore the blue sleeveless jacket. The person next to him wearing suit was Houa Gerard. The lady who wore a straw hat and a one-piece black dress was the female interpreter for Wang Jian in this visit. Her name is Zhou Tiantian.
Another person is wearing a blue top and this person wearing a grey top. They were inseparable from Wang Jian. They ought to be the assistants to Wang Jian, Tian Ding dand Sun Jinghao.
The others were the staff of the Chinese tourist agency, which was in charge of taking care of Wang Jian in this trip.
Later we can see from the close up view in the indoor monitor, that at 19.55, the female interpreter and a serving staff were chatting about something. Then right afterwards, Houa Gerard entered the guest room. Wang Jian also appeared in the field of vision. Then, they returned to their rooms to change clothes and have a simple tidy up.
At 20.14, we can see Houa Gerard appearing from the left side of camera 1. Now he has changed into a red T-shirt. Wang Jian also removed the blue sleeveless jacket and changed into a light colour shirt.
Meanwhile at 20.22, Wang Jian’s entourage passed through in front of the camera and their images were also captured by the camera.
At 20.28, Wang Jian, Houa Gerard and the rest of the party came to the parking area. They were met with another two people. The first person shook hands with Wang Jian. The one who wore a white top with black stripes was Daniel Vial, who designed this trip for Wang Jian. That was Vial wearing that top on that day, it can be verified by the photos we can see which were taken on that same day and posted onto the social media by another lady who dined with them together.
After a brief exchange of greetings, they walked together towards the hotel restaurant and prepared to have lunch. At the end one hour later Wang Jian appeared again around 21.30. They lady appearing ahead of Wang Jian was the woman, who took the picture with Vial just now. She was the CEO of Allianz Worldwide Partners Asia Pacific Region. Not only has she connection with vial, she also took picture with Houa Gerard. All was up posted to the woman’s social media page.
That concluded the images captured on July 2nd.
(To be continued… )
By Miles Kwok and his legal team