Police in Taiwan are investigating the whereabouts of the chairman of a listed company on bail awaiting trial in Hong Kong for fraud, after reports he was abducted in New Taipei City; Missing chairman sees Pearl Oriental shares plunge 15pc

Hong Kong fraud accused feared abducted in Taipei
25 September 2015
Police in Taiwan are investigating the whereabouts of the chairman of a listed company on bail awaiting trial in Hong Kong for fraud, after reports he was abducted in New Taipei City on Sunday.

Wong Yuk-kwan, 68, who is also known as Wong Kun, is accused of defrauding the Securities and Futures Commission in a US oil field transaction.Wong is chairman and executive director of Pearl Oriental Oil. In a statement yesterday the company said it “has been unable to contact or reach Mr Wong” in response to media reports of “certain situations”.

“The company is trying to understand and ascertain the situation concerning Mr Wong as reported in the articles [media reports] and there is no information available to disclose up to the date of this announcement.”

Wong is due to appear in the High Court on October 28.

A spokesman for the New Taipei City police department confirmed Wong’s family had filed a report and said Wong had been abducted by “a few men”.

“The motive remains unknown,” said John Pao, information officer of the Xindian district branch, which is now investigating the case.

Wong is an old business partner of Lew Mon-hung, who was earlier found not guilty of fraud in the same case. Lew, 65, was formerly deputy chairman and executive director of Pearl Oriental Oil.

Chinese-language media reported that Wong was bundled into a car as he left his residence on Sunday. His family contacted police after being unable to make contact with him, but there have been no ransom demands so far.

Apple Daily said Wong went to Taiwan in February for a business trip, then claimed to have suffered an accident that required him to stay for treatment.

The price of Pearl Oriental Oil’s stock dropped by almost 15 per cent in Hong Kong trading yesterday, closing at HK 18 cents.

Missing chairman sees Pearl Oriental shares plunge 15pc
Benjamin Robertson benjamin.robertson@scmp.com
25 September 2015
Disappearance of Wong Yuk-kwan, who is facing fraud charges locally, leads to frenetic trading

The disappearance of a company chairman while on bail sent shares in scandal-wracked Pearl Oriental Oil plunging almost 15 per cent yesterday, providing a measure of drama in an otherwise sedate trading day.

Granted permission by Hong Kong authorities to travel to Taiwan for medical reasons, Wong Yuk-kwan was last seen being pushed into a car on Sunday, Taiwanese media reported, raising fears he might have been kidnapped.

Pearl Oriental “has been unable to contact or reach” its chairman, and “is trying to understand and ascertain the situation”, the firm announced in an exchange filing.

Wong had been due to face fraud charges in Hong Kong’s high court related to the purchase of a US$225 million oilfield in Utah, in the United States. Two businesswomen connected to the deal were jailed earlier this year.

Frenetic trading at volumes nine times the firm’s 30-day average helped drive shares in Pearl Oriental down 14.95 per cent to 18.2 HK cents, a notch above their one-year low.

Trading on the rest of the market was more subdued. At HK$70.9 billion, yesterday’s Hong Kong market turnover was 25 per cent below last month’s daily average.

In mainland markets, Shanghai turnover was 213.16 billion yuan (HK$258.37 billion), the lowest in six months, while Shenzhen’s turnover was also weak at 319.56 billion yuan.

“The market seems to be reaching equilibrium without any obvious external interventions. Overall the day was positive without major market swings,” said Gerry Alfonso, director of Shenwan Hongyuan Securities in Shanghai.

The Shanghai Composite Index finished the day 0.86 per cent higher at 3,142.69 points, with shares of Great Wall Motor rising 4.75 per cent to 29.11 yuan. Media sector stocks outperformed, led by China South Publishing & Media, which climbed 5.59 per cent to 21.15 yuan. The Shenzhen Composite Index rose 1.21 per cent to close at 1,757.54 points.

Brokerages Haitong Securities slipped 2.57 per cent to HK$11.36, while Citic Securities fell 1.95 per cent to HK$14.08, accompanied by a warning from HSBC yesterday that low transaction turnover was hurting sector revenue streams.

The wider Hang Seng Index finished 0.97 per cent lower at 21,095.98 points and the H-share index fell 1.05 per cent to 9,469.81 points.

In Hong Kong, property developers pounded the benchmark index.

Cheung Kong Property was among the biggest losers, dropping 1.75 per cent to HK$56.25. CK Hutchison Holdings inched down 0.59 per cent to HK$100.90.

The two firms have been sliding all week, ever since owner Li Ka-shing was criticised by mainland state media for divesting some of his China assets.

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