State agents and cartels have often targeted high-profile businesspeople in China for extortion or bribery. Teddy Wang, the founder of the Chinachem group, found himself a victim of this when kidnapped in 1983 after being hijacked. His abductors held him in chains for a week before his wife paid millions of dollars for his release.
Seven years later, Wang would be kidnapped again, but this time he would not be returned. Those implicated claim he was thrown into the sea but could not substantiate their claims. Wang’s whereabouts or body were never located.
Michael Rockefeller garnered worldwide attention when he disappeared during an exploratory mission in modern-day Indonesia in 1961. The vanishing of the twenty-three-year-old American elicited a media frenzy for several highly sensationalized reasons, not least of them being that he was the grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller.
Early reports indicate that he could have fallen victim to one of the last tribes of cannibals in the region after his canoe became stranded. Maybe Rockefeller left the boat in an attempt to swim to safety? After three years of investigations, Rockefeller was declared legally deceased in 1964.
Ambrose Bierce was a literary giant amongst early American authors. His writing style and storytelling prowess influenced Ernest Hemingway, and several of his works have been listed among the most influential pieces of work in historical American literature.
Bierce's first-hand experiences as a soldier during the civil war inspired the vast majority of his short stories. After a lifetime of military retirement, he returned to the battlefield at the age of seventy-one to document the Mexican Revolution. A final letter to a friend stated that he was headed to an “unknown destination.” The destination remains unknown forever as Bierce was never heard from again.
Oscar Zeta Acosta
Oscar Zeta Acosta was a firebrand of the counterculture movements sweeping across the landscape of the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Acosta was an attorney and activist who wielded all of his efforts to bring justice to marginalized Hispanic communities.
Acosta is immortalized as Dr. Gonzo, a character in Hunter S. Thompson’s seminal work, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” He was played by Benicio Del Toro in the 1998 film of the same name. Zeta Acosta vanished in 1974 after cryptically telling his son he was “about to board a boat full of white snow” in Mexico.
Donald Scott Smith, known by his stage name Scott Smith, was a bassist for the Canadian rock band Loverboy. Smith’s chunky bass lines would help propel the band to international stardom, and they scored several top-ten singles throughout the 1980s. Smith took two friends sailing with him in November 2000.
The rock star, who was aged fifty-five at the time, was battling some heavy surges in the yacht when a rogue wave swept over the boat, taking Smith with it. A massive search party was formed, but Smith vanished and, as of today, was presumed drowned.