Stock exchange listing division chief Lawrence Fok Kwong-man has criticised Hong Kong company directors for failing to disclose connected transactions, saying ignorance of the listing rules is no excuse. The stock exchange has recently stepped up investigations into a string of companies that breached listing rules by not disclosing deals with related parties. Companies involved include conglomerate CP Pokphand, electronic consumer-goods maker Alco Holdings, watch-maker Stime Watch International Holding and instant-noodle maker Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. Most of the connected deals were discovered by accountants during auditing. Mr Fok yesterday said: 'I don't think company directors can say they broke listing regulations because they are ignorant about the regulations.' According to Chapter 14 of the listing rules, listed companies must make public any transactions involving directors and related parties such as relatives, including step-children and in-laws, as well as substantial shareholders. Connected transactions must be announced as soon as possible and approved by shareholders. Mr Fok urged company directors to abide by the rules or face disciplinary action. 'This will do no good to company directors or listed companies,' he said. Tingyi surprised uninformed shareholders by revealing last month it had lent almost US$35 million to unlisted parent Ting Hsin (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp controlled by the same shareholders - the Wei brothers. Ting Hsin spent part of the loan raising its stake in the listed company by 1 per cent to 68.1 per cent through buying in the open market, an illegal move under Hong Kong company law. However, Tingyi, which is registered in the Cayman Islands, escaped possible charges as it is regulated by Cayman Islands' company law. Alco divulged only recently transactions with three companies linked to David Leung - son of chairman and substantial shareholder Kimen Leung Kai-ching - in the five years to September last year. Managing Partners - a representative of two minority shareholders holding 2 per cent of Alco - want fellow shareholders to vote against the transactions at today's special general meeting. Managing Partners chairman Anthony Fox said: 'We questioned Alco directors' explanation of their oversight in disclosure and [were] dissatisfied with the information they provided.' He said Managing Partners would lobby the stock exchange to look into the deals.