Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
The missing Chinese couple, which disappeared on Valentine’s Day, stayed in Borrowdale Brooke, Harare, with the husband running a company involved in mining and building materials.
The details on the couple emerged as police have engaged Interpol and Chinese authorities to widen their investigations to establish the whereabouts of the two.
Lei Ding (35) and his wife Chi Lifen (30) disappeared on Valentine’s Day after visiting a friend in Highlands, Harare.
Their friends and relatives have since offered a $1 million reward for anyone with information that might assist in the search.
Advertisements with pictures of the couple have since been published in all local media announcing the reward.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police is now working with the International Police Organisation (Interpol) and their Chinese counterparts in searching for the couple.
Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Homicide is handling the case.
Sources close to the investigations said Ding, a director of a local company, Yafei Building Material and Mining, and his wife were staying in Borrowdale Brooke.
Information obtained from the CCTV at their house in Borrowdale Brooke showed the couple leaving at around 11:48am in a white Mercedes Benz ML registration number AFA 3322.
They were visiting a friend in Highlands.
They met their friend, a Chinese, outside his house at around 12:38pm before they left for an unknown destination.
The following day, their vehicle was discovered by officers from Mabvuku Police Station while parked along Arcturus Road, with keys in the ignition.
Police recovered the couple’s keys to their house, US$12 and $9.
Also found was Ding’s firearm certificate for cash-in-transit, but the gun was missing.
Detectives from the CID Vehicle Theft Squad (VTS) attended the scene.
They then checked their database and discovered that the vehicle was registered in Ding’s name and got his home address.
When they went to the house, they found no one. They managed to locate Ding’s sister who is staying in Zimbabwe and she also assisted with investigations.
They went back to the house and conducted searches, but nothing was missing inside the house and the couple’s valid passports were also found.
The passports have valid visas (business/investors permits) which expire in June this year.
In an interview, Ding’s sister, who preferred anonymity, said her brother had been coming in and out of the country since 2008.
“He first visited Zimbabwe in 2008, but would normally stay for at least two years and then relocate to other countries for business,” she said.
“But since 2018, Ding had been staying in Borrowdale Brooke with his wife.”
She confirmed that the CCTV indeed showed the couple had left home around 11.48am.
The sister said whenever Ding left home, he would carry his gun and a certain amount of cash with him.
“From what I know, he would carry some cash and most of the time he would also carry his gun with him, which is also missing,” she said.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said investigations to ascertain the whereabouts of the two were still ongoing.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police is still investigating the case involving those two Chinese nationals who were last seen on February 14, 2020 in Eastlea after visiting a friend,” he said.
“We are still appealing to anyone who may have information on their disappearance or possible location to contact their nearest police station or the national complaints desk on (0242) 703631.”
Those with some information can also contact CID Homicide on 0242 758031.