Hong Kong regulator freezes broker accounts linked to firm whose shares jumped 1,300 pct

HONG KONG, March 20 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s securities regulator ordered on Wednesday nine brokers to freeze client accounts related to suspected manipulation of shares in investment firm China Ding Yi Feng Holdings between 2018 and early 2019.

Trading in Ding Yi Feng’s shares had been suspended since last week at the direction of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The stock jumped 145 percent in 2018 following a 1,303 percent surge in the previous year.

The SFC said here, in the interests of investing public, the nine brokers were prohibited from disposing of assets held in the accounts, and from dealing with them in any way.

The securities watchdog said the brokers, including Guotai Junan Securities and Haitong International Securities, were not under investigation.

China Ding Yi Feng officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The company said in a Monday night exchange filing that the SFC visited its premises with a search warrant, on March 8, for the purpose of obtaining documents and information in relation to an investigation and seized certain documents.

There have been no charges or arrests made in connection with the execution of the search warrant, the company added.

Last Thursday, Ding Yi Feng’s shares closed at HK$23.10, compared to an all-time low of HK$0.144 plumbed in 2013. (Reporting by Alun John, additional reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)