April 10, 2012 / 2:45 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 3-Hong Kong tycoon makes brief stop at anti-graft HQ

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HONG KONG, April 10 (Reuters) - A Hong Kong property billionaire and former government official baffled journalists covering one of the city’s biggest corruption scandals on Tuesday, driving up to the anti-graft agency’s offices and leaving within minutes.

Thomas Kwok, co-chairman of property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, and Hong Kong’s former No. 2 government official, Rafael Hui, were arrested alongside Kwok’s brother, Raymond, on March 29 on suspicion of corruption.

No charges have been filed and all three are free on bail in the biggest investigation launched by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) since it was set up in 1974 to root out graft.

Local media had speculated that all three would appear at the ICAC on Tuesday for the second time since their arrest, so a media pack of reporters, photographers and TV crews was waiting.

Hui arrived first and left after roughly 15 minutes. Thomas Kwok, who arrived in a separate chauffeur-driven car, stayed for about five minutes.

Cable Television said they may have entered the anti-graft agency briefly to process documents related to their bail applications. Other media said both had extended their bail, although the ICAC declined to comment.

Raymond Kwok, the other co-chairman of Sun Hung Kai, reported to the ICAC last week for similar paperwork, Cable Television reported.

This could not immediately be confirmed and a Reuters photographer at the scene said there was no sign of Raymond at the ICAC on Tuesday.

The brothers were worth $18.3 billion as of March, according to Forbes magazine. A Sun Hung Kai official, Thomas Chan, has also been arrested as part of the investigation.

The ICAC can call the Kwoks in for questioning as many times as it wishes during the course of its investigation. The agency then hands the information over to the Department of Justice, which decides if it has enough evidence to prosecute.

Such investigations can take months to assemble.

Shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties, which has lost roughly $5 billion or around 15 percent of its market value since the arrests, closed down 0.3 percent on Tuesday.

The Kwoks have sought to reassure investors about the outlook for the developer, saying in a brief press conference last week that it was business as usual at Asia’s largest property company by market value. (Reporting Tyrone Siu and Venus Wu; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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