SAR man wanted for $1.3b swindles

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 May, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 May, 1999, 12:00am

A Hong Kong businessman is wanted in Guangdong for alleged fraud involving as much as 1.5 billion yuan (HK$1.3 billion), a Guangzhou newspaper reported yesterday.

The 43-year-old man was suspected of several swindles and illegal fund-raising, the New Express Daily said.

The suspect was put under police surveillance last November when one of his scams came to light, but he gave officers the slip in March after going back to his Guangzhou office. He was said to have climbed out of the window of his 22nd-floor office before being smuggled out of the building.

The suspect, a tractor driver in Guangdong's Maoming before moving to Hong Kong in 1980, was a member of the Guangdong People's Political Consultative Conference, the paper said. He returned to Maoming in 1995 as an entrepreneur and, through his local connections, allegedly took over two depository funds offering interest rates as high as 15 per cent a year.

The suspect allegedly pocketed money by lending it to companies he set up on the mainland. He repeated the trick in other Guangdong and Guangxi cities.

The suspect was said to have profited from the property frenzy in Guangdong by selling 'orchards' without trees, shares in an idle road project and in an office block in Guangzhou that was never built.

Police in Maoming received complaints from investors last September when they were unable to withdraw money from funds. They started watching the man two months later but he claimed the financial glitch was only temporary and promised to pay back investors.