A Ugandan detained as part of a transnational assassination crew that reportedly planned to kill a Chinese resident in Zambia led a flamboyant lifestyle and left digital footprints, including information about his deadly journey from South Africa to Lusaka.
Interrogators in Zambia hope to connect vital clues in their investigations into the alleged hiring of foreign hitmen by a Chinese national for a mission to suffocate a victim inside the country by using the trail of information that 40-year-old Henry Kwotek, aka Kwoteck, posted on his social media pages.
The investigations are related to a purported unsuccessful assassination attempt on a Chinese national in Chingola on March 2, in which he was shot three times in the chest.
According to Zambia Police Service spokeswoman Rae Hamoonga, detectives zeroed in on and detained the three accused foreign hit squad members, who purportedly confessed and identified the two Chinese nationals who allegedly hired them for ZK200,000 (Shs40m).
“The five suspects, M/Henry Kwotek, 40, of 44 Ponana Street in Gauteng, South Africa; M/Chen Moyn, 42, of China Club Hotel in Lusaka; M/Lucky Singate, 32, of 30 Ngcola Kwanobuale, South Africa; M/Mawande Lungelo Qnoqnoza, 41 Mqolomba, South Africa; and M/Zhuang Pingzen, Mr. Hamoonga made a point.
“As Zambian police, we will not relent in dealing with such criminal elements, and we stand ready to guarantee that they face the full wrath of the law,” he added.
Zhang Lian, 45, was attacked on March 2 at around 8.30pm local time at Lian-an Mining Limited, a mining company that he owns, according to Zambian media.
Daily Monitor was able to piece together Mr Kwotek’s voyage from South Africa to Zambia and how he ended up on the wrong side of the law thanks to sources in both Zambia and South Africa.
Under the name Henry Kwotek, there are at least six Facebook accounts with similar images of himself and his family.
Kwotek, who identifies himself as a “financial heavyweight champion,” is said to spend time in Lusaka, Zambia, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, and Centurion, Gauteng, all in South Africa, according to information gathered from various sources.
His wife and four daughters are featured prominently on his Facebook pages.
The 40-year-old was identified by Zambian police as a Ugandan who lived at 44 Ponana Street in Gauteng Province, South Africa. The accused has a family in South Africa, but he moved to Zambia with others early this year reportedly to commit thefts, some of which targeted Chinese citizens, according to law enforcement agencies.
The 40-year-old claims to have completed a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Uganda’s first and largest public university, Makerere University.
In addition, he studied International Business at Makerere University and took classes at St John’s College, a prestigious private boys-only institution in Johannesburg, South Africa, according to his resume.
We couldn’t locate any information on his academic background.
Mr Kwotek advertised himself on Facebook in 2018 as a Johannesburg-based secondhand phone and laptop reseller, with a WhatsApp number for people to contact him for business.
Our attempt to send a message to the phone contact revealed that the social media platform had not been activated.
Kwotek claimed to be traveling to Shanghai, China, in May 2018, but his later Facebook posts revealed that he remained in South Africa.
Traveling to Zambia
Kwotek posted a video of bundles of Kwacha, Zambian cash notes, in a restroom on March 20, with a background voice repeating “…money in the bank…” repeatedly.
He portrays a lavish existence in photographs and remarks uploaded on his microblogging sites, describing himself as a “gangster.” His occupation is not revealed in the posts.
On his social media, he chronicles his journey from South Africa to Zimbabwe. It all started on February 18th.
He arrived at the Musina Zimbabwe Border Gate on February 19 and then traveled to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, before settling at Roysam Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia.
On February 20, he shared images of himself and four other men with the caption “2022 Zambia.” On February 22, he announced that he was in Lusaka, Zambia, for a meeting.
He celebrated his 40th birthday the next day at the Basket Pub Nkana East in Kitwe, Zambia. In the days that followed, he continued to publish images, generally alone, including one at Kitwe’s Club Ebony Parklands.
On March 4, he tweeted a photo of a brand-new BMW automobile and stated that he was traveling from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, to Port Elizabeth, South Africa’s Eastern Cape, where he is thought to have his base.
It’s unclear whether he departed Zambia on that day. However, the most recent —- and as of yesterday, still the most recent —- information was that Zambian police had arrested him, along with other accused collaborators, on accusations of attempted murder.