Details of Disappearance
Lau was last seen in Tampa, Florida on June 19, 1981. He started walking to work that morning, but never arrived.
Lau had moved to the United States from China as a refugee in 1969. He had fled a Chinese forced labor camp two years earlier and swam for eight hours to safety in Hong Kong, where he bribed a man to get him a job on a ship. When it docked in New York two years later, he jumped ship and got a job in a Chinese restaurant.
Later, he got a work card, moved to Tampa and started working at restaurants there, hoping to bring his wife and their daughter over to the United States. He worked as a cook at a Chinese restaurant on Buffalo Avenue at the time of his disappearance. His boss, who reported him missing, stated he was a very reliable employee, never missed work and was never even late.
Lau has never been heard from again. He left all his belongings behind in his apartment. Some reports stated he didn't own a car and couldn't drive; others maintain he sold his car on the day of his disappearance and said something about returning to China. The circumstances of his disappearance are unclear.