Sun Hung Kai Properties

Brother 'did not trigger arrests'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 April, 2012, 12:00am

Contrary to media speculation, the high-profile ICAC arrests of Sun Hung Kai Properties chairmen Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen were not triggered by a complaint from their estranged brother, a source close to the investigation said yesterday.

The inquiry was not launched after a tip-off from Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, 61, who was ousted from his family's company in 2008 after a family feud, the source said.

Walter Kwok's brothers, Thomas Kwok, 60, and Raymond Kwok, 58, were arrested last week by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, along with former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, 64.

Some media reports have suggested that Walter Kwok took revenge against his two brothers by making a complaint to the ICAC.

'None of the complainants that you [the media] thought of is the real complainant,' the source said.

The source could not say who tipped off the graft-busters, commenting only that the probe was not initiated by the ICAC.

The extensive coverage by many newspapers of the unprecedented case was only '20 to 30 per cent' accurate, the source added.

'Many [media] reports were produced only by deduction,' he said.

Walter Kwok said on Tuesday that the case was regrettable, telling Sun Hung Kai Properties employees to stick loyally to their duties.

His spokeswoman would not comment on whether Walter Kwok had filed corruption complaints with the ICAC, telling the media not to speculate without solid evidence.

A source close to Walter Kwok said he had not thought about returning to Sun Hung Kai Properties since leaving the real estate giant. Walter Kwok previously said his two younger brothers expelled him from the firm. Another source close to the inquiry said Walter Kwok held discussions with ICAC agents about the company's operations at least once before the city's biggest corruption probe became public last week.

The South China Morning Post has learned that the case was investigated by a special panel led by an assistant director of the ICAC's operations department.

Investigators are seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice on possible charges.

The Post also learned that Thomas and Raymond Kwok will report back to the graft-busters on Tuesday next week. The ICAC refuses to comment on individual cases.

The Kwok feud hit the headlines in February 2008 when the company announced Walter Kwok would take a temporary leave of absence as chairman for personal reasons.

In May that year, Kwong Siu-hing, the matriarch of the family, replaced Walter Kwok as the chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Kwong retired in December and the board appointed Thomas and Raymond Kwok as joint chairmen.

Their roles as managing directors and executive directors remain unchanged.