3 at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Held in Probe

Associated Press

The former chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, its chief executive officer and one other top exchange official were arrested Saturday by this British colony's chief anti-corruption agency.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption said that former Chairman Ronald Li; Jeffrey Hon-kuen Sun, the exchange's chief executive officer; and Donald Tak-hung Tsang, head of the exchange's listing department, were arrested under Hong Kong's prevention-of-bribery ordinance in connection with an investigation into the operation of the stock exchange.

The commission statement gave no details.

Li relinquished the exchange chairmanship when his two-year term expired last month and is now a vice chairman.

Closed Exchange 4 Days

His decision to close the exchange for four days during the world stock market crash last October led to calls for his resignation. The 58-year-old former chairman was instrumental in merging four exchanges into the current Hong Kong Stock Exchange two years ago.

A commission statement later Saturday said the three men were released on bail as an investigation continues, adding that Li posted bail of 10 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.28 million), Sun 4 million Hong Kong dollars ($512,800), and Tsang 30,000 Hong Kong dollars ($3,850).

It is rare for the commission to immediately identify people taken into custody. But it said the three were identified because of the "particular circumstances."

At a hastily called news conference, the colony's financial secretary, Piers Jacobs, said the government proposed that certain officers of the privately run, self-regulating exchange "distance themselves from the management of the stock exchange" until the probe is completed.

Jacobs gave no details, nor did he identify the members in question.

Small Group to Run Exchange

But, he said, the administrative duties of the general committee that runs the exchange would be taken over by a smaller committee under former Banking Commissioner Robert Fell.

The exchange later announced creation of a 14-member management committee to temporarily replace the 21-member general committee.

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