A man who has been controversially hailed as a hero after accidentally killing a robbery suspect while giving chase in his car has apologized for his no-show on a Shanghai television program.
Ling Huakun, from Guangdong Province, had been due to appear on a talk show on Dragon TV but went missing after arriving in Shanghai, leading to worried program staff searching for him.
Talk show host Luo Xin said the program received a message late on Wednesday from a man claiming to be Ling saying he had decided not to take part in the show.
"I'm sorry that I can't attend your interview, I'm fine and have come home to Guangzhou," Ling said in the message. "Please forgive me for causing you concern."
The show confirmed that he had taken a 4pm flight to Guangdong's capital city of Guangzhou on Wednesday. It is unclear what happened during the hours when Ling was in the city from Tuesday evening to Wednesday afternoon.
"It's weird, there was an abrupt U-turn in his attitude," Luo told Shanghai Daily yesterday. "I don't know what happened after he arrived in the city or who he met."
Luo said staff had been in touch with Ling shortly beforehand and he was looking forward to appearing.
"He was excited about the show on the phone and talked with our producer for a long time," Luo said.
Ling found fame in May when he pursued a robbery suspect in Guangdong in his car. The suspect died when his motorcycle struck Ling's vehicle.
But Ling later ran into debt because he injured a pedestrian during the chase and also faced accusations from the suspect's family.
All Ling's compensation payments were later covered by an insurance company, but his situation generated a nationwide debate about the cost of becoming a hero.
Ling was meant to talk about his case on the show on Wednesday but turned off his phone after he arrived in Shanghai. And he did not stay in the hotel arranged by the show, but in a smaller one.