State media Xinhua repeats news of Sing Pao chief embroiled in alleged illegal funds scandal

Reports follow surprising column published by Gu Zhuoheng’s newspaper in August criticising chief executive and liaison office

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 11:17pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 October, 2016, 11:17pm

Mainland state media yesterday repeated news that the boss of local newspaper Sing Pao Daily News was allegedly involved in illegal financial activities with a Shenzhen-based finance platform.

The report by Xinhua said Gu Zhuoheng, 44, chairman of pro-establishment Sing Pao Media Enterprises since October 2014, was wanted by Shenzhen police for an alleged connection to a case of illegally receiving some 150 million yuan (HK$173 million) from financial platform cnmeidai.com, based in Shenzhen.

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Gu denied similar reports, published previously, in a statement in August, saying he had no relationship with the platform, which claimed to be China’s first online medium of its kind providing services from peer-to-peer lending to financing for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Gu also stressed that he had been free to travel between Hong Kong and the mainland.

He earlier claimed he had been under revenge-driven political attack since last year because he would not submit to a “certain power”. He has not identified the power.

The details of the case had been carried by mainland media including Southern Metropolis Daily in April last year, and the semi official Hong Kong China News Agency in August this year. Some pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong also repeated the reports.

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The recent reports followed an attack by the usually pro-establishment Sing Pao against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in August. The newspaper accused Leung of allowing Beijing’s liaison office to interfere in domestic affairs, alleging the office might not be representative of the central government’s view.

Its attacks against Leung and the office escalated last month to include state leader Zhang Dejiang, who heads Hong Kong and Macau affairs.

The newspaper, known for its conservative editorial policy, first raised eyebrows in August with a full-page commentary accusing Leung of indirectly encouraging Hong Kong independence talk.