An illuminated logo of Sun Hung Kai Properties adorns the company's headquarters in Hong Kong on March 29.

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Former Sun Hung Kai Chairman Walter Kwok had been arrested

Follows the arrests on March 29 of his two younger brothers, Raymond and Thomas

Part of an ongoing investigation of the company by the city's anti-corruption agency

Financial Times  — 

Sun Hung Kai Properties, Hong Kong’s largest property developer, said on Friday that its former chairman Walter Kwok had been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation of the company by the city’s anti-corruption agency.

It follows the arrests on March 29 of his two younger brothers, Raymond and Thomas, who are joint chairmen of the group. Like his brothers, Mr Kwok has been released on bail.

Rafael Hui, Hong Kong’s former chief secretary, also was arrested in March, the highest-level arrest of a civil servant in the history of the city’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. None of the four men has been formally charged.

Tycoon arrests rock Hong Kong

The corruption investigation comes at a time of unprecedented public anger at the city’s large developers because over the past couple of years a limited supply of new land for development, combined with wealthy investors from the mainland, have driven property prices to levels that are unaffordable for middle class buyers.

On Wednesday, in an interview with Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Walter Kwok had sought to place the blame for the company’s relationship with Mr Hui squarely on his brothers’ shoulders. Mr Kwok told the newspaper: “[Mr Hui] was employed by my two brothers and he worked for my two brothers. I really have no idea what he was doing.”

Mr Kwok also suggested a reopening of the battle for control of the group, claiming that he had legal documents showing he still holds a one-third stake in the company.

The Kwok family engaged in a bitter scuffle a couple of years ago over the trust that controls the HK$245bn ($32bn) Sun Hung Kai empire, with the younger two brothers removing Walter Kwok as a beneficiary of the trust.

In a statement on Friday, Sun Hung Kai said that the arrest “has not affected and will not affect the normal business and operations of the group”.

Shares of the group, which were suspended Friday, were down 0.9 per cent in the afternoon after trading resumed.