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Tycoon brothers arrested in Hong Kong corruption probe

By Andrew Henstock and Michael Martinez, CNN
March 29, 2012 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
An illuminated logo of Sun Hung Kai Properties adornes the company's headquarters in Hong Kong on March 29, 2012.
An illuminated logo of Sun Hung Kai Properties adornes the company's headquarters in Hong Kong on March 29, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thomas and Raymond Kwok run Hong Kong's biggest property development company
  • They were arrested for suspected corruption
  • An unidentified government official was also arrested for alleged corruption
  • Another Sun Hung Kai executive was arrested 10 days ago in a bribery investigation

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Brothers Thomas and Raymond Kwok, who control Hong Kong's biggest property development company, Sun Hung Kai, have been arrested for suspected corruption, authorities said Thursday.

Also arrested for suspected corruption was a person described by Hong Kong's Department of Justice as "a former principal official of the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region," a spokesman for the Independent Commission Against Corruption said.

The Kwok brothers' fortune is $18.3 billion, according to Forbes Magazine, which rank the brothers and their family as the 27th richest in the world.

The commission's report said "the arrested persons are alleged to have committed offenses under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and misconduct in public office."

Raymond, left, and Thomas Kwok at a press conference on May 23, 2008.
Raymond, left, and Thomas Kwok at a press conference on May 23, 2008.

The arrests come 10 days after Sun Hung Kai's executive director, Thomas Chan, was arrested by the commission in connection with a bribery investigation.

Four other people, whose backgrounds weren't disclosed by authorities, were also arrested on corruption charges.

On Thursday morning, Sun Hung Kai Properties suspended trading of its shares. The company has since announced the shares will resume trading when Hong Kong's stock exchange opens Friday morning.

The firm has set up a special committee to handle all matters arising from the investigation, and the company's board, whose six members include the two brothers, has resolved that the Kwoks will "continue to undertake and discharge their duties to the group, including their duties as joint chairmen and managing directors of the company," according to a company statement.

CNN's Andrew Henstock contributed from Hong Kong and Michael Martinez from Los Angeles.

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