Hong Kong’s second richest family, Kwok Brothers Arrested

Hong Kong’s Kwok Brothers Lose Billions After Arrests              Robert Olsen, Forbes Staff  From Hong Kong, I cover the news during the business day in Asia.  Raymond (left) and Thomas Kwok

Thomas and Raymond Kwok saw $2.3 billion of their wealth wiped out on Friday, after the brothers from Hong Kong’s second richest family were arrested on suspicion of bribery the previous day.

The Kwoks are co-chairman of the city’s largest developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), which tumbled 13% to close at 96.50 Hong Kong dollars ($12.40). Shares of the company’s subsidiaries SmarTone Telecommunications and data-center operator SUNeVision Holdings fell 3.9% and 3.6%, respectively.

The Kwok’s had been worth $18.3 billion on the World’s Billionaires List,  based largely on their holdings in SHKP, but that net worth is now estimated at $16 billion.

The brothers were arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) along with former senior official Rafael Hui in connection with an investigation into alleged bribery. Hui held a number of senior posts before leaving government to act as a consultant for SHKP. He later returned to become the chief secretary between 2005 and 2007 and then joined the cabinet of Hong Kong’s current leader Donald Tsang between 2007 and 2009.

Thomas Chan, an executive director from SHKP, was taken into custody by the ICAC on March 19, as part of the same investigation. Chan is responsible for land acquisitions and project planning matters for the developer.

SHKP has long been considered one of the best run property developers in Hong Kong, responsible for building many of the city’s tallest buildings. Thomas and Raymond were named joint chairmen in September, replacing their mother, Kwong Siu-hing, who still has a say over the family’s holdings. Eldest brother Walter was ousted as SHKP’s chairman during a bitter family feud in 2008, but remains a non-executive director.

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