Tycoon Chen Zhuolin appears on indecent assault charge

Agile chairman enters no plea over alleged attack on female employee

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 January, 2013, 5:17am

The chairman of Agile Property Holdings appeared in court yesterday charged with indecently assaulting a 28-year-old female employee at his luxury house in Happy Valley.

Chen Zhuolin, represented by barrister Cheng Huan SC, entered no plea at Eastern Court in Sai Wan Ho, and was released on HK$5,000 bail by Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing.

The 50-year-old businessman allegedly assaulted the woman at his home on July 10 and July 11. He was arrested on August 30 when he went to Wan Chai police station to answer questions about the alleged assault. The case was adjourned to February 19, awaiting witness statements from the prosecution.

Chen's appearance coincided with Agile Property Holdings' largest drop in almost a year on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Its shares tumbled nearly 6.47 per cent yesterday, from HK$12.68 to close at HK$11.86, its biggest drop since February 13.

The mainland developer said in a statement to the exchange yesterday that "the charges are unrelated to the business of the group and will not affect the normal business and operations of the group".

Chen and his wife co-founded the company 20 years ago. Agile Garden in Zhongshan, one of its early key projects, was a big hit and once made up 70 per cent of the city's total property sales.

The property developer entered the Guangzhou market in 2002 and set a record by launching four property developments in one year. The company went public in Hong Kong in 2006.

In 2011, Forbes, the US business magazine, ranked Chen and his family 75th on a list of China's 400 richest, with wealth of US$1.34 billion. In July, a local rich list published by Money Week magazine named Chen and his family as the ninth richest in China.