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Billionaire Kwok brothers renew bail in HK graft probe

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HONG KONG: Thomas and Raymond Kwok, the billionaire co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties <0016.HK>, returned to Hong Kong’s anti-corruption agency on Friday as part of a bribery investigation surrounding Asia’s largest developer.

Hong Kong’s official broadcaster, RTHK, said five people will be charged in the investigation, citing sources, but the broadcaster did not identify the people.

The car of Rafael Hui, the former head of the city-state’s civil service, was also seen arriving at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) anti-graft body, although it was not immediately clear if he was inside, according to Reuters reporters at the scene. Hui has been investigated as part of the same probe involving Sun Hung Kai.

The Kwoks were accompanied by their legal team, Reuters reporters outside the headquarters of the ICAC said.

The agency has been investigating alleged corruption and misconduct in public office.

Shares of the company, which are Asia’s most widely held property stock, fell 0.7 percent at the open, but were up 0.5 percent when trading was suspended, with investors waiting for clarity on potential charges. The company said it requested the suspension ahead of the release of potentially price sensitive information.

Trading in SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd <0315.HK> and SUNeVision Holdings Ltd <8008.HK>, two units of Sun Hung Kai Properties, was suspended on Thursday, according to Hong Kong stock exchange data.

SUNeVision’s shares last traded down 0.7 percent at HK$1.44, while SmarTone was down 1.1 percent at HK$15.9 before the suspension.

The Kwoks’ estranged elder brother, Walter, and the first man arrested in the case, Thomas Chan, the company’s board member in charge of land purchases, were also due to appear at the agency, sources told Reuters.

While Hui has been under investigation since early 2011, formal proceedings in the case began when Chan was arrested on March 19. – Reuters