Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (16) plunged the most in 14 years and lost $4.9 billion of market value after anti-graft investigators arrested the billionaire brothers who run Hong Kong’s biggest developer.
Co-chairmen Thomas and Raymond Kwok were detained by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Sun Hung Kai said late yesterday. Rafael Hui, a former No. 2 official in the government, was also arrested, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because of the ongoing probe.
The arrests mark one of the highest-level investigations in the ICAC’s 38-year history and come four days after a Hong Kong leadership election in which close ties between government and business emerged as a key campaign theme. Current Chief Executive Donald Tsang is being probed separately by the ICAC for accepting trips on the yachts and planes of tycoons.
“This will no doubt further strengthen the impression among the public that there is a collusion between business and government,” said Shiu Lik-king, a lecturer of public policy at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “Politics is all about perception. Once the public think you’ve done it, it won’t matter even if you’re not convicted at the end.”
Sun Hung Kai plunged 13 percent, the most since January 1998, to close at HK$96.50 in Hong Kong after a suspension yesterday. The stock has dropped 17 percent since the company said March 19 Executive Director Thomas Chan Kui-Yuen was arrested by the ICAC.