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Yang Zhihui, the Chairman of Hong Kong-listed casino and hospitality operator Landing International Development Ltd., who was missing for some weeks, has been reportedly detained in Cambodia. This is the last of a series of bad news for the struggling company. Its share prices, which had already have fallen by 35% over the last few weeks, were further down by 33% following the announcement. They fell another 33% today to their lowest since last springnews of arrest.
The company currently runs the Jeju Shinhwa World integrated resort on South Korea’s Jeju Island. The property had its grand opening earlier this year with 155 gaming tables and multiple other gambling and non-gambling options.
Earlier this year, Landing also announced plans to build a $1.5-billion hotel and casino resort in the Philippines. The company received a provisional license from the local gambling regulator PAGCOR and obtained a portion of land in what is known as Entertainment City in the Manila Bay area.
The developer broke ground on the resort on August 7 only to see Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vow to block the mega-scheme just a few hours after the ground-breaking ceremony. The country’s top official said that the lease contract Landing had secured for the development of its resort was “unconscionable” and that he would not allow any more gambling resorts in the country beyond the existing ones.
Mr. Yang is the casino operator’s largest shareholder with a 50.5% stake. While Landing did not specify in its note to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange whether it had any additional information about the businessman’s whereabouts and why he might have gone missing, reports emerged across Asian media outlets that he was arrested in Cambodia over his ties with Chinese state-owned bad-debt manager China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd. The company’s former Chairman, Lai Xiaomin, has recently found himself embroiled in a massive graft investigation.
According to local news outlets, Mr. Lai is facing charges for channeling billions of Chinese yuan to a private company for years. The probe extended to people with close ties with the disgraced businessman, who left his Chairman post at the bad asset manager in April.
Chinese media outlet Caixin reported on Thursday citing multiple unnamed sources that Landing’s Chairman was arrested at an airport upon landing in Cambodia. The news website pointed out that the reasons for his detention were unclear, but it was believed that his reported “close business ties” with Mr. Lai might have turned the attention of police authorities toward him.
Caixin further reported that Landing’s Chairman was a controversial figure across Hong Kong’s business communities due to his suspected but unconfirmed involvement in a fraud scheme.
Source: European Gaming Industry News