Eight arrested in an operation against the ramp-and-dump syndicate

Eight people, including a suspected ringleader of a sophisticated syndicate operating ramp-and-dump schemes through a complex cross-shareholding network of Hong Kong-listed companies, were arrested in a joint operation of the Securities and Futures Commission and the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The SFC conducted the search in relation to suspected ramp-and-dump schemes involving the stocks of six Hong Kong-listed companies and other market misconduct, which involved illicit gains of HK$191 million.

The syndicate is suspected of having offered bribes to the responsible officers and staff members of brokers for assisting in share placing to facilitate the ramp-and-dump schemes.

More than 120 SFC officers and 70 ICAC officers participated in the joint operation during the past two days, in which a total of 50 premises were searched. Those premises included offices of at least four Hong Kong-listed companies and SFC-licensed brokers.

Apart from the suspected ringleader, other arrestees are also key members of the syndicate, including the chairperson of a Hong Kong-listed company and three responsible officers of two brokers.

“SFC has zero tolerance of the active participation of shareholders and senior executives of listed companies, as well as SFC-licensed individuals, in these manipulative schemes because of the harm of their misconduct to the interests of minority shareholders and the reputation of Hong Kong’s financial markets,” said Christopher Wilson,the SFC’s Executive Director of Enforcement.

Ricky Yau Shu-chun, Deputy Commissioner and Head of Operations of the ICAC added, “The ICAC and the SFC will continue to collaborate and work in partnership to combat such illicit activities to sustain Hong Kong’s status as a clean international financial centre.”