The Securities and Futures Commission has moved to liquidate Forluxe Securities and its finance arm as owner James Mui Kwong-nok remains at large in connection with an alleged fraud. Police are understood to have drawn close to Mr Mui's whereabouts and are also believed to have widened their search to include two other Forluxe directors believed to be Mr Mui's brothers. Mr Mui went missing last Saturday, leaving his wife hospitalised following complications stemming from childbirth. Police are understood to be keen to interview his wife, who is a director in Forluxe's money lending arm, Forluxe Finance, once she has recovered. The SFC yesterday launched a winding-up petition in the high court and placed a restriction notice on the company's assets which freezes shares owned by the brokerage's 630 clients. Provisional liquidators are expected to be appointed today. Mr Mui is believed to have sold some of his client's shares for more than $20 million before disappearing, sources said. Since Forluxe's business was suspended on Tuesday, police have been flooded with more than 300 complaints against the brokerage involved claims worth more than $56 million. The commission said Forluxe and its finance arm were at this stage unlikely to be able to repay clients. Sources said Forluxe had shares worth $8 million in the Central Clearing and Settlement System (CCASS) and one securities trading licence valued at about $7 million, against liabilities of $40 million. Protests over the closure continued yesterday as about 60 disgruntled clients - aided by two politicians - tried to storm the offices of the SFC, having tried to enter the stock exchange on Wednesday. Speaking in Dalian, stock exchange chairman Lee Hon-chiu said the collapse of some smaller brokerages was unavoidable, but added the wider broking industry remained strong. Executive director Lawrence Fok Kwong-man, also in Dalian, said criticisms levelled at regulators that they had failed to spot troubled brokers were unfair. The collapse of Forluxe, the latest in a string of failures including the demise of CA Pacific Group, sparked a new round of withdrawals from CCASS as investor confidence faltered. A Hong Kong Securities Clearing Co spokesman said the securities settlement house was besieged by 6,200 withdrawal orders yesterday, taking the total to almost 10,000 in the past two days compared with a weekly average of 570. 'Some investors seem to feel safer hiding their shares under mattresses,' Lippo Securities sales director Steve Cheng Ka-wah said. 'But I think the withdrawals will die down after a while.' Ironically, today marks the launch of a new scheme allowing investors to hold direct accounts with the CCASS, which was designed to increase investor protection.