JD.COM said yesterday its founder and CEO, Liu Qiangdong, who was arrested by U.S. police in Minnesota on Friday on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct and later released, has returned to China from the United States to work.
JD.com said in a statement that the accusation against Liu, 45, was unsubstantiated and “local police quickly determined there was no substance to the claim.”
The Minnesota police department said the case remains active even if he was released without bail Saturday afternoon.
The incident has ignited heated discussions among Chinese netizens, with the hashtag “Liu Qiangdong’s mug shot profile in custody” ranking No. 1 among all topics on the Chinese Twitter-like Sina Weibo since Monday afternoon.
Liu was allowed to leave Minnesota and the U.S. after being released, which does not mean that he is innocent, as the case remains open, and the police investigation into the case remains active, John Elder, the state police department’s public information officer, told Yicai reporters Monday.
Liu is expected to cooperate with the police when it becomes necessary, Elder was quoted by Yicai as saying.
Citing the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office website, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Liu was arrested at 11:32 p.m. Friday on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct and released Saturday at 4:05 p.m.
Elder said Liu was held on probable cause before being released, with no bail being set. Investigators in Minnesota can either hold a person for up to 36 hours before charging them, or release them and continue an investigation, the WSJ report said.
Depending on the details of the crime, criminal sexual conduct could either be a misdemeanor or a felony, Elder added.
More than 250 million Internet users had viewed Liu’s discussion page, and 30,000 of them posted comments over the incident as of press time.
Many netizens expressed their support for Liu, firmly believing he is innocent, while others directly pointed out the “victim,” who goes by “Nico_Jiangpinting” on Weibo, believed to be a yoga trainer from Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality.
“Justice naturally lives in people’s hearts,” the alleged victim posted on her Sina Weibo on Monday, without confirming whether she was involved in the case.?(Global Times)