DCHL promises to form refund plan after further protests in Causeway Bay

Multilevel marketing company offers small hope to angry mainland distributors, but gives no details and says they must wait two weeks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 5:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 4:25pm

Digital Crown Holdings HK (DCHL) management yesterday promised to come up with a refund plan within two weeks, after dozens of mainland protesters rallied outside the company's Causeway Bay offices.

The protesters said they would leave by Friday, but pledged that they would return if DCHL failed to keep its promise.

"Many of us also took part in the more critical five-day rally in late October. We are now here again just because the company didn't keep its word last time," one protester said.

"We will definitely take more serious action if we are messed around again this time."

Two representatives of the more than 80 protesters - who were promised big profits based on a complex system in which they benefited by recruiting more distributors - said it was the first time senior DCHL management had responded to their protests.

"It's the first time we have had a meeting with the company's general manager Lau Chun-wei after five days' waiting," Tian Dongdong, one of the representatives, told the South China Morning Post, adding that "small progress" was only made after the group decided to prolong a scheduled four-day rally to five days.

"Lau wanted us to leave Hong Kong as soon as possible because all of us only have week-long entry permits, and Friday is the deadline. He said the company would announce a detailed refund plan in two weeks."

Another representative, Zhang Zhimin, said Lau "reassured us that DCHL is preparing a long-term strategic plan" in a bid to deal with a foreseeable increase in refund requests in the near future.

"Lau said they needed more time to prepare a comprehensive refund plan as it is expected that thousands of distributors will flow into Hong Kong for refunds in the aftermath of the crackdown on DCHL on the mainland," Zhang said.

Mainland police started a nationwide crackdown on multilevel marketing operations in the middle of the year, with dozens of top DCHL salespeople being detained in Guangdong and Hunan so far, according to the China Police Daily.

But Lau denied his company had "a long-term strategy", saying DCHL was also "a victim" in the massive crackdown.

"There is no such plan. We just conveyed a message from Kim Huynh [DCHL founder and chairman] to them that the company would come up with a refund plan in two weeks," Lau told the Post.

He refused to explain how his company had become "a victim", and why the management was still failing to produce any details about refunds even though protesters started rallying outside its Causeway Bay offices in October.

Tian, a farmer from Hubei who invested more than 500,000 yuan to buy DCHL products, said many of the protesters were middle-level ranking distributors who invested at least 300,000 yuan in the company's goods, with some becoming homeless after taking out large loans. "We hope the company will refund us at least 50 per cent of our investment," he said.