Police charge Carson Yeung
Clifford Lo and Danny Mok
Hong Kong tycoon Carson Yeung Ka-sing (pictured), the owner of English Premier League football club Birmingham City, has been arrested and charged with money laundering.
Officers from the Narcotics Bureau's financial investigations unit arrested Yeung at his home on the The Peak yesterday morning. The tycoon was being held in police custody overnight and will appear in Eastern Court this morning. As part of the operation detectives searched two locations - one on Hong Kong Island and the other in Kowloon - and seized documents allegedly relating to an ongoing probe into money laundering.
Last night a police spokesman confirmed that a 51-year-old man had been arrested and charged with five counts of 'dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence' and was detained in police custody. An officer with a knowledge of the case identified the man as Yeung.
The colourful tycoon and former Tsim Sha Tsui hairstylist took control of the English Midlands club in 2009 after paying HK$731 million to acquire 94 per cent of the club through Grandtop International, which was later renamed Birmingham International Holdings.
In April this year Yeung increased his personal stake in the club to 24.9 per cent after acquiring 315 million shares in Birmingham International Holdings in a private transaction for an undisclosed amount from an 'independent third party' through his company Great Luck Management, according to a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange at the time.
Earlier, in March, Yeung pledged his private properties to lenders in a bid to raise funds for the club, whose liabilities exceed its assets by HK$348 million, according to a statement by Birmingham International Holdings.
The move came shortly after the club had won the League Cup, beating favourites Arsenal 2-1 at Wembley to record only their second major trophy. However, Birmingham were relegated from English Premier League at the end of last season.
Aged 16, Yeung started work in London in 1977, then returned to Dongguan, in Guangdong province, to work on property development in late 1980s. He trained as a hairstylist and opened a salon in Tsim Sha Tsui's Royal Garden Hotel in 1994.
The former chairman of now defunct Hong Kong First Division outfit Hong Kong Rangers is said to have made his fortune investing in penny stocks in Macau in late 1990s. He is also understood to have investments in Macau casinos.
He rose to international prominence when he bid for Birmingham City in 2009, saying his aim was to boost links between English and Chinese football. He also made unsuccessful attempts to buy Sheffield Wednesday and Reading.
Yeung's business expanded into media ownership in April 2008 when he stepped in with a HK$60 million bailout loan that gave him an option to acquire up to a 62 per cent stake in SMI, the publisher of Chinese-language Sing Pao Daily News.
Yeung is also listed in companies registry filings as a director of Universal Energy Resources Holdings, Universal Management Consultancy, Universal Properties Group Holdings and Super Promise International.