Third Kwok brother held in Hong Kong graft probe
HONG KONG: A corruption probe into the activities of one of Asia's richest families widened Friday after Hong Kong authorities arrested the eldest sibling of the Kwok brothers at the centre of the scandal.
The family's company, Sun Hung Kai Properties, was briefly suspended from trade on the Hong Kong stock exchange ahead of its announcement that anti-graft agents had arrested Walter Kwok over bribery allegations.
Kwok informed the board late Thursday that he had been arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), it said, adding that the arrest "will not affect the normal business" of the firm.
The watchdog arrested his two younger brothers, Sun Hung Kai co-chairmen Thomas and Raymond, in March while a fourth executive, Thomas Chan, was arrested earlier in one of the biggest corruption cases the city has seen.
Walter Kwok is a non-executive director of the company.
The Kwoks are among Hong Kong's richest men and Sun Hung Kai Properties is the city's biggest property developer by market capitalisation.
A former top official in the regional banking hub, Rafael Hui, has also been arrested over the allegations.
All of the suspects have been released on bail and none is believed to have been charged with any crime.
The ICAC has not released details of the bribery allegations but the arrests have sent shockwaves through the former British colony and raised questions about the cosy ties between its business elite and the government.
"While enquiries are continuing, no further comments will be made at this stage," it said in a statement confirming that a "senior member of a listed company" had been arrested Thursday in relation to the corruption case.
The Kwoks have an estimated family wealth of $18.3 billion(RM 55.78 billion), according to Forbes magazine, second only to the city's richest man, 83-year-old Li Ka-shing, founder of rival developer Cheung Kong Holdings.
Sun Hung Kai has built some of the city's most prominent landmarks including its tallest building, the International Commerce Centre.
The company's share price has fallen more than 15 per cent since the Kwoks' arrest in March. It fell another 1.75 per cent to HK$92.65(RM 36.19) after it resumed trading on Friday afternoon.