The Letter

1 August 2000

Dear Susan Knox,

I have just finished reading about how you solved the mystery on Blacksea Island and identified the secret murderer of your friend Robert Powell. I hope that you can help me solve another mystery on my home island of Han near Hong Kong, although in my case the mystery is already five years old.

On 1 May 1995 my friend Gabriel Xing walked into the sea and drowned himself. On the beach he left his diary containing two pages of notes which I feel sure hold the truth to his tragic death. Like your friend Robert I am certain that my friend Gabriel was murdered but I cannot prove this.

Why do I feel sure his death was a murder and not a suicide? I will tell you.

Gabriel was an extremely intelligent, though introverted boy. He was only fifteen years old when he died and, in the diary that he left behind, he mentioned a place called Cheung Chau Cave. Three months ago, I was doing some research for the Hong Kong Maritime Museum when I spotted this name on a 18th century Cantonese naval map of Han Island. I returned to Han, searched near the spot marked on the map and found the Cave. I have no idea how Gabriel learnt of it's name and location unless he stumbled across it himself.

On the island of Han there is a local legend about a pirate captain called Tsai who hid a large amount of treasure somewhere on the island. This treasure would be worth hundreds of millions today. Gabriel’s reference to Cheung Chau led to me finding the cave that was definitely used by Tsai and his crew, it was filled with pirate artefacts! The cave contained no treasure though, I believe that it is hidden somewhere else on the island.

I think Gabriel knew where the treasure is, how he learnt this I do not know because no one has known that for three centuries. I think he was killed by someone who wanted this information. I also think that the person who killed him is probably still on the island, generally those who are born on the island die on the island as well. You must be careful here Miss Knox: the ghosts of the past still have the power to harm those in the present.

It would be best if you could come to Han Island yourself to investigate, it is a small place about an hour south of Hong Kong Island and there is a regular ferry between the two. I have sent you some things which I think can give you more information: some newspaper clippings, a list of people I consider suspicious enough that they may have been involved in Gabriel's death and, most importantly of all, the two pages from Gabriel’s diary. His notebook was found lying open on a bench near his body: on one page he had written his diary entry for the day and on the opposite page he had written about Tsai's treasure.

Gabriel was a bit of a math whiz and he was fond of writing in codes of his own devising, codes which meant that one thing he had written often had a second, quite different, secret meaning. I feel sure the real location of Tsai’s Treasure is hidden somewhere in Gabriel’s written notes. To unravel the secrets of his death and the treasure you will have to explore Han Island’s present and past. You will soon learn the island of Han has a very dark and deadly history.

So, take care Miss Knox and please give us all the help you can give. As well as solving a three-hundred-year-old mystery of pirate gold you might help give the ghost of Gabriel some peace. He was a good friend and he should not have died the way he did, at such a young age. I hope that you can bring his killer to justice. Good luck Miss Knox, be careful and, finally, welcome to the Island of Han!

Your Friend,

Chow Feng
TIME is 1.