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British university teacher working in Hong Kong killed on Chinese mainland


Hilary St John Bower has died on the Chinese mainland

Hilary St John Bower has died on the Chinese mainland

Hilary St John Bower has died on the Chinese mainland

A British university teacher who worked in Hong Kong has been killed on the Chinese mainland.

Hilary St John Bower, 60, vanished on March 22 after he travelled from the city to Shenzhen, where he lived with his girlfriend and son.

Investigators on the mainland have told Hong Kong police that he died on the day he disappeared.

The city force could not confirm if there was any "criminal element" to his death, but there has been speculation that he may have come to harm after a six-figure property deal.

Mr Bower's colleague Richard Charles told the South China Morning Post: "I do know that after buying at the bottom of the property market a good few years ago, he was expecting to be paid somewhere in the region of nine million Hong Kong dollars (£816,156) for a property he just sold in Shekou."

The English language teacher had worked at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) since 1996 and was due to retire later this year.

A spokeswoman said: "It is with deep regret that the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has received confirmation from the Hong Kong police this morning of the passing away on the Chinese mainland of Mr Hilary Bower, language instructor of the English Language Centre.

"The University will render all necessary support and assistance to Mr Bower's family, and offer counselling to colleagues and students in need."

Mr Bower was reported missing to Hong Kong police by his girlfriend on March 30, the force said, and when investigators discovered he was a regular traveller between the city and the mainland they contacted authorities there.

A spokesman for Hong Kong police said: "Police received information from the mainland authorities that the subject had been killed on the night of March 22. We cannot identify yet whether there is any criminal element."

According to his profile on the PolyU website, Mr Bower had also taught in South Korea, Thailand, Spain and Kuwait during his career.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing support to the family at this difficult time, and will remain in close contact with local authorities."

Fellow Briton businessman Neil Heywood was killed in China in 2011 when he was poisoned by Gu Kailai, the wife of senior Communist party official Bo Xilai.

A political scandal erupted in the wake of his murder, with Bo expelled from the party and in 2013 jailed for life for corruption.

His wife received a suspended death sentence for killing Mr Heywood.