Court orders subsidiary of jewellery firm to reveal whereabouts of bullion worth HK$24m Gold company 3D-Gold Jewellery Holdings and subsidiary Hang Fung Jewellery were placed under provisional liquidation yesterday, as mystery surrounding the alleged theft of gold bars from the firm deepened. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu was appointed provisional liquidator during a closed-door hearing in the Court of First Instance yesterday before Mr Justice Aarif Barma. The hearing, which lasted from 5pm to 6.20pm, was told that the liquidation was not voluntary but had been initiated by a petitioner. Lawyers refused to disclose further details after the hearing, and the liquidator said business at 3D-Gold's 200 outlets in Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland would continue. The company confirmed the court move but said it was business as usual. In a statement late last night it said the court order was 'aimed at confirming and protecting the assets of the company and not on winding up or liquidating'. A saleswoman at a branch in Causeway Bay said: 'Our company has been put under provisional liquidation? We really had no idea. The operation has been normal. We receive our salaries on time and our business is OK. We are not worrying at all. It is common for a listed company to have loans.' The provisional liquidation came just hours after another court hearing when Mr Justice Arjan Sakhrani in the Court of First Instance ordered Hang Fung Jewellery to reveal the whereabouts of HK$24 million in gold bars owned by a Japanese bank. 3-D Gold and Hang Fung Jewellery had repeatedly refused to tell the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ where almost 10,000 gold bars had gone, the court heard. The judge ordered Hang Fung to hand over documents concerning the gold bars by Monday or be cited for contempt of court. An unnamed Hang Fung executive recently told the bank's agent 'there were no longer any gold bars', and a HK$24 million cheque it gave Tokyo-Mitsubishi to cover the value of its missing gold bullion had bounced, the court heard. The revelations came just days after the widow of 3D-Gold founder Lam Sai-wing and four other company executives were arrested in connection with the alleged theft of HK$179 million worth of gold bars from the company's vault. 3-D Gold, formerly known as Hang Fung Gold Technology, was best known for making the world's most expensive toilet, which drew thousands of tourists daily to its headquarters in Hung Hom. Lam, 53, died suddenly last month, which sparked at least two legal actions and a police investigation. It remained unclear if Tokyo-Mitsubishi's gold bullion was included in the amount allegedly taken by Lam's widow, Jane Lam Chan Yam-fai, and the other executives. But the arrests 'obviously would cause a lot of concern', said Elaine Liu, who represented Tokyo- Mitsubishi at the hearing yesterday. 'The documents we ask for are very important to identify where the [gold bars] are,' the barrister told Mr Justice Sakhrani. 'The longer the delay ... the chances of recovery will, of course, be much less. There is no reason for [Hang Fung] not to disclose this information.' The judge refused a request from Hang Fung lawyer Gary Seib to exclude media from the courtroom. Mr Justice Sakhrani also declined his request for another week to produce the documents. He noted that an October 11 court order from a different judge had already compelled the bank to hand over information about the missing bullion. There 'is a lot going on' at Hang Fung and its parent, including a board-approved investigation of the group's accounting, Mr Seib said. Also, Mrs Lam - who is out on bail - could not give evidence about the missing gold because she might have to defend herself against criminal charges, Mr Seib said. Earlier this week, Mrs Lam, her late husband's estate, 3-D Gold chief executive Kathy Ng Yee-mei, and two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands were listed as defendants in a writ filed by Sun Hung Kai Investment Services. The lawsuit sought HK$50.9 million in relation to an investment agreement.