Landing International Casino Chairman Yang Zhihui — who was earlier reported missing from the firm — has been detained in Cambodia, according to a Beijing news source that confirmed the story with multiple sources.
Caixin reported Thursday that Yang Zhihui, chairman and executive director of Hong Kong-based Landing International Development Limited, “was detained at an airport after he arrived in Cambodia Thursday for a visit to a local casino.”
Firm representatives said that they were unable to contact Yang at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange earlier in the day.
Yang has led Landing International since 2013 and owns 50.48 percent of the company, according to Caixin. The company’s stock plummeted 35 percent on Thursday, reaching a low of 3.68 HKD before trading was halted. The company started the day at 5.62 HKD.
“Landing International has close business ties with embattled state-owned bad asset manager China Huarong, whose former head is under investigation in what may be the country’s largest financial sector corruption case since 1949,” Caixin reported.
No clear connection with his disappearance was made with the scandal, however.
Trouble in the Philippines?
Landing does business in Hong Kong, South Korea, the Philippines, as well as internationally, and employs 2,000 people, according to Forbes.
The company was poised to begin building a $1.5 billion casino in the Philippines in August, right before President Rodrigo Duterte said the land deal was unfair. He then fired the board of Landing International’s local partner.
Duterte’s pushback put the project into question and the firm’s stock subsequently dropped six percent, according to the South China Morning Post. Landing International claims that the massive resort — called NayonLanding — will create 10,000 jobs. The company still plans to open by the 2022 target date, regardless of any setbacks.
GGRAsia reported that the firm acknowledged Yang’s absence at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange:
“Since the day-to-day business operation and management of the group has been undertaken by the group’s senior management team, the board currently does not expect that the temporary absence of Mr. Yang would have any material adverse impact on the daily business operations and financial positions of the group. The board will further assess relevant impacts on the group,” a Landing statement said.
But no public dismissal of the situation can cover the obvious fact that something is amiss, and stockholders showed their uncertainty with the selloff.