CEBU (Updated) - Businessman Richard L. King, the owner of Crown Regency Group of Hotels, was shot dead inside the Vital C Building on Sobrecary St. in Davao City at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
Major Warren Dablo of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Davao said that King, 57, suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He died on the spot.
The CIDG and the local police in Davao are jointly investigating the attack.
In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu Thursday night, Dablo said that based on the team’s initial investigation, King was in Davao for the closing ceremony of the wellness training for Vital C, one of his many business ventures.
He was eating with his employees and the participants and guests at the ground floor of the two-storey building when the gunman, who was not wearing a mask, walked in and shot King several times.
After the attack, the gunman, described to be about 5’5” tall and with medium build, fled on board a black XRM motorcycle driven by a companion who was waiting outside.
Dablo said the building has no security camera. There was also no security guard on duty when the attack happened.
Witnesses are helping the police in coming up with an sketch of the gunman, Dablo said.
Dablo said the joint team is still establishing the motive of the attack, but they are not discounting the angle that the attack was business-related.
King was a popular business figure in Cebu and had appeared in the news several times.
In 2002, he accused then Regional Trial Court judge Agapito Hontanosas of soliciting P250,000 for a favorable court decision in relation to a writ of attachment on property he filed against Nelson and Lucy Go. Nelson and Lucy were business partners of Roderick Go who, according to King, owed him P97 million and allegedly tried to kill him.
In 2004, Richard and his three brothers sued Sun.Star Cebu Public Standards editor Pachico A. Seares and columnist Elias Espinoza for writing allegedly malicious statements linking the Kings to the seized pseudoephedrine. The complaint against Seares was eventually dismissed.
In 2007, Richard and brother Rafael accused then Lapu-Lapu City mayor Arturo Radaza of asking for a P15-million bribe from a contractor (Nelson Yu), who reportedly got four big projects in the city worth P500 million. The accusation prompted Radaza to file charges of grave threat and violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Law against the King brothers.
In November 2012, members of an indigenous people’s group in Boracay claimed Richard hired armed men to attack their community and destroy the fence they had put up. The Kings built a Crown Regency Hotel and Resort in Boracay.
In September 2012, King was ordered by the Office of the Building Official in Cebu City to stop construction work of an 18-storey building in Barangay Lorega after the soil beneath the sidewalk caved in.
Amid the controversies, Richard, a chemical engineer, was known for implementing new concepts in the hotel industry. Crown Regency Hotel and Towers is the first of its kind to feature amusement facilities, including a roller coaster-like ride on the top floor of its 40-story hotel tower.
In 2006, Richard proposed a water theme park at the South Road Properties to then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña. (Sun.Star Cebu)