Chinese tycoon's shares tank after alleged child molestation arrest
SHANGHAI : Shares related to a Chinese property tycoon plunged for a second day yesterday after his arrest for suspected child molestation, in a case that sparked anger over an apparently botched attempt to censor the affair.
Police in Shanghai announced on Wednesday that a man had been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl.
Chinese media reports subsequently confirmed that the man was Wang Zhenhua, 57-year-old billionaire chairman of Seazen Holdings.
Hong Kong-listed shares in a pair of companies linked to Wang - Future Land Holdings and Xinchengyue - have since plunged around 30 per cent.
The news appeared not to have affected Shanghai-listed Seazen Holdings on Wednesday, but the stock fell the maximum allowable 10 per cent yesterday, triggering an automatic suspension.
Police said a man surnamed Wang was arrested on suspicion of child sex abuse, along with a woman surnamed Zhou.
Chinese media reports have said that Zhou delivered the nine-year-old girl to Wang after bringing her from another province for a trip to Shanghai Disneyland, after which Wang allegedly paid Zhou.
Chinese web-users subsequently expressed outrage when a posting began circulating online, purportedly from a Shanghai public affairs official, instructing media outlets not to report on the case.
But netizens poured scorn on the public affairs official, with some suggesting he had a financial interest in Wang's companies, and they cheered as media continued to report the story yesterday.
Future Land Holdings had sales of 221 billion yuan (S$43 billion) last year, ranking eighth in China, the state-controlled Global Times reported.
On Wednesday alone, his fortune dropped by US$1.4 billion to US$5.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. - AFP