Hong Kong's oldest Chinese language newspaper Sing Pao faces wind-up order over unpaid debts

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 April, 2015, 12:20am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 April, 2015, 2:36am

Hong Kong's oldest Chinese language newspaper, Sing Pao, is facing the threat of liquidation for failure to pay its debts.

Creditor Korchina Culture Investment Ltd filed a petition to the High Court to wind up Sing Pao Media Enterprises Ltd on Tuesday. The court document was not available to the public.

The newspaper was founded in 1939 by Ho Man-fat, who sold it for HK$150 million to Optima Media Holding in 2000. Qin Hui, a mainland businessman and nightclub owner, bought Optima Media and changed its name to Strategic Media International in 2004.

The paper was sued for failing to pay salaries in 2006 and 2007 and was almost wound up by the Mandatory Provident Fund for failing to pay HK$4.2 million in contributions in 2008.

Jailed former Birmingham City Football Club owner Carson Yeung Ka-sing stepped in to help in 2008, with an interest-free loan of up to HK$60 million to its parent company. Qin transferred his shares to Yeung in 2010, but last month Yeung filed a writ to ask Qin and Strategic Media for HK$5.75 million.

The company published a notice on April 6, claiming a lender had sent a statutory demand notice and that the directors are negotiating with an unnamed independent third party to grant a new loan of HK$110 million.

The paper yesterday refused to comment on the petition. The court has fixed a hearing on April 23 to appoint a liquidator and the petition will be heard on July 15.