Sun Hung Kai co-chairmen to speak to media

HONG KONG, April 3 — The billionaire brothers and co-chairmen of Hong Kong property company Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd, who were arrested last week on suspicion of corruption, will make their first public appearance on Tuesday, an official at the company's media department told Reuters on Tuesday.

Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) arrested Raymond and Thomas Kwok in the agency's biggest investigation since it was set up in 1974 to root out what was seen as widespread corruption in the government and police.

The two brothers will make a statement to the media at 3:30 pm at the ground floor of the company's headquarters located in one of Hong Kong's busiest commercial districts, the official said.

The arrest of the two brothers, worth US$18.3 billion (RM55.8 billion) according to Forbes magazine, came days after Hong Kong elected Beijing-loyalist Leung Chun-ying as its next leader.

Leung had pledged land for cheaper public housing, and as soaring property prices, the most expensive in the world, have stirred public discontent.

The brothers were released on bail and Sun Hung Kai said last week that it was business as usual for the company. But last week's event dented investor confidence and nearly US$5 billion (RM15.2 billion) in Sun Hung Kai's market value was wiped out when trading in the company's shares resumed on Friday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the stock was up 2.4 per cent at HK$96.70 (RM37.95), still below HK$111.10 (RM43.60) when the company halted trading in its shares last Thursday. The benchmark Hong Kong share index was up 0.9 per cent.

"This is good news that the brothers will talk to the press. I guess they may try to calm investors and the market by announcing some personnel changes or replacement," said Alfred Chan, chief dealer at Cheer Pearl Investment.

In the past few weeks, Sun Hung Kai has also disclosed that Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, in charge of project planning and land acquisitions, had been arrested for suspected bribery.

The Kwok family had a public feud in 2008 that ended with elder brother Walter being ousted as chairman. Thomas and Raymond, backed by their mother, claimed Walter was mentally unfit to run the business, claims Walter has denied. — Reuters



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