Wang, publisher of two Chinese-language magazines in Hong Kong—New-Way Monthly and Multiple Face—and Guo Zhongxiao, a reporter for the magazines, were detained by police in the southern city of Shenzhen on May 30, 2014, and accused of operating an illegal publication and suspicion of illegal business operations. Liu Haitao, an editorial assistant at the magazines, was detained on June 17, 2014, on the same accusations.
According to a Hong Kong media report, Wang’s wife was also placed under criminal detention on May 30, 2014, and her house was raided the same day. She was held overnight and released on bail. In April 2015, Wang’s wife published an open letter on the overseas Chinese-language website Boxun calling for the release of her husband.
Oiwan Lam, founder of Inmedia, an independent media outlet promoting free speech, told CPJ that Wang and Guo were known as politically well-connected journalists who frequently reported insider information and speculation on political affairs in China. In an editorial, the Hong Kong- and Taiwan-based newspaper Apple Daily described Wang’s magazines as being "close" to the political factions of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and former Vice President Zeng Qinghong.
Sham Yee Lan, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association, told CPJ that the arrests were part of a wider attempt to suppress the freewheeling publishing industry in Hong Kong.
On July 26, 2016, a Shenzhen court sentenced Wang to five years and three months in prison for illegal business operations, and charges of bribery and bid rigging related to his other businesses in China, according to news reports. Guo was sentenced to two years and three months for illegal business operations. He was released in September 2016 after serving his sentence, according to Hong Kong Free Press, an English-language news website. Liu Haitao was released on probation.
In October 2017, Jiang Weiping, a friend of Wang, told CPJ that Wang was being held at Nanshan Prison in Shenzhen, Guangdong. CPJ could not determine the state of his health as of late 2018. CPJ’s call to the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau in September 2018 went unanswered.