A billionaire Vancouver businessman has been charged with the unlawful confinement of a sex trade worker he met online.

Ting Kwok Ho, or David Ho, the founder and owner of the now-defunct Harmony Airways, is also accused of unlawfully causing bodily harm, four weapons charges and one count of possessing a controlled substance.

Police say the investigation into the 57-year-old began last December, after a woman Ho allegedly met in an online chat room called police to say he was stopping her from leaving his home.

Supt. Rob Rothwell of the Vancouver Police Department's Investigative Services Section said the victim was able to use her cell phone to call 911 around 4:45 a.m.

"While she was speaking with the operator, a violent struggle allegedly ensued in which she suffered a number of minor injuries," Rothwell said.

"It is alleged a struggle then ensued and the victim sustained bruises and scrapes, all injuries of a minor nature."

The woman managed to escape the home, but suffered a fractured ankle in the process. Once outside her screams were heard by neighbours, who called police.

Rothwell says the businessman was arrested after an "extensive and complex" investigation.

He appeared in a Vancouver courtroom Monday morning and was released on a $100,000 security. His next court appearance is set for October 26.

David Ho, a divorced father of three, operates several businesses in British Columbia.

Shortly after immigrating to Vancouver in 1985, Ho purchased the University Golf Club and MCL Motors, a luxury car business.

Ho reportedly decided to start his own airline in 2001 after being stranded with his 10-year-old daughter for 18 hours at the Maui airport. He launched Harmony Airways in 2002, which flew to several domestic and international destinations before it shut down in 2007.