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Property News Weekly Digest
〈China Daily, Sep 4, 2021〉A barrister, his wife and two solicitors were among 12 people arrested for conspiracy to defraud the Urban Renewal Authority of HK$62.7 million in a property scam in which they claimed to be owners of repossessed flats earmarked for redevelopment.

Barrister Devin Sio Chan-in, 36, is alleged to be the mastermind of the syndicate, which stole at least eight flats across Hong Kong, including one in To Kwa Wan, with fake identities before applying for loans and selling the flats, earning a total of HK$62.7 million.

Eight men and four women, aged 30 to 64, including the barrister, two solicitors and a legal executive, were arrested for conspiracy to defraud on Wednesday, the police said yesterday.

Sources named Sio and the two solicitors as Wai Pui-shuen and Flora Lam Yan-fong.

The other suspects, who have not been named, include a paralegal clerk, five staff from a financial company and property agents.

At a press conference yesterday, Chief Inspector Chan Yat-wai from the Commercial Crime Bureau said the scam came to light when an "owner" of a flat on Wing Kwong Street in To Kwa Wan marked for redevelopment suddenly approached the authority for compensation. The owner was supposed to have died 21 years ago.

〈The Standard, Sep 4, 2021〉Big deals surge as sentiment returns

Sentiment for big deals in the market has picked up this year, with both Chinese and foreign capital jumping in.

Data from Midland IC&I (0459) shows that by the middle of the past month more than HK$49.1 billion worth of transactions in industry and commerce businesses had been struck, more than the total for last year.

Of that figure, southbound net capital inflows contributed HK$8.53 billion this year, while foreign capital amounted to HK$8.79 billion, setting a new high since the social unrest of 2019.

Midland IC&I believes that with market liquidity still abundant, a stable economy and with a reopening of the border with the mainland just a matter of time, the market for industrial and commercial properties will remain stable as well.

This year's transaction volume is expected to hit 180 and involve about HK$90 billion, says the agency.

Tony Lo, chief executive at the property agency, said that the overall investment market has gradually warmed up, and the number of big transactions, those involving at least HK$100 million, has shown an upward trend as the in Hong Kong is under control.

〈Asian Post, Sep 3, 2021〉Hui Ka-yan, one of China's wealthiest tycoons and chairman of the world's most indebted real estate developer, made his first public appearance since July to assure the public that China Evergrande Group is able to complete its property projects.

Hui, also known as Xu Jiayin on the mainland, appeared in the centre of a photograph with Evergrande's senior executives, where eight vice-presidents signed a guarantee to deliver the company's projects to customers, according to a blog post yesterday on the company's official social media account on WeChat.

"Everyone in the company, led by chairman Hui, has made the pledge," the company said. "We are determined to ensure the quality of our construction, and make sure we deliver quality projects in quantity at full stretch and by any means possible."

The social media post followed Hui's warning on Tuesday that Evergrande, owing a record 1.97 trillion yuan (HK$2.37 trillion) of debt, loans and contractual obligations to suppliers, faced risks of defaults and legal action. The company's interim profit fell 29 per cent to 10.49 billion yuan, as revenue declined 17 per cent to 222.7 billion yuan, the Shenzhen-based company said.

〈China Daily, Sep 2, 2021〉The Singapore Exchange is preparing to roll out easier rules for listings of special purpose acquisition companies, while the Hong Kong bourse has yet to conduct a public consultation on such action.

The move will make Singapore the first major Asian stock exchange to accept such investment vehicles.

And the changes come after Singapore has struggled to capture large listings of high-growth companies and received market feedback that some of its earlier proposals had been too strict.

SGX's regulatory arm is now said to be considering easing a minimum S$300-million (HK$1.73 billion) market value proposal for SPACs along with a proposal to rule that warrants cannot be detached from underlying shares.

Singapore has been facing prospects of losing out when courting southeast Asian startups looking to list in their home markets or in the United States.

Given the high level of interest, Singapore Exchange is now looking to publish the results of its consultation "as soon as possible."

〈The Standard, Sep 1, 2021〉Figuring in the action were 45 flats at The Henley III in Kai Tak being offered by Henderson Land Development (0012).

The second price list for the flats, which range from 238 to 540 square feet and comprise 14 studio flats, 25 one-bedroom flats and six two-bedroom flats, shows them priced at between HK$6.69 million and HK$18 million with a 5 percent discount.

The discounted per square foot prices are between HK$25,246 and HK$33,385, up 1.7 percent from the first price list. Around 350 checks were received by yesterday, meaning a fourfold oversubscription.

Sales executive Thomas Lam Tat-man said he expects the second round of sales to begin next weekend.

Atop Wong Chuk Hang MTR station, La Marina attracted at least 2,000 checks in four days, marking an oversubscription of 9.6 times.

Developed by Kerry Properties (0683), Sino Land (0083) and MTR Corp (0066), the project is package two of The Southside development at the MTR station.