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HK regulator freezes more accounts linked to firm whose shares jumped 1,300%

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HONGKONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s securities regulator on Tuesday ordered nine more brokers to freeze their client accounts related to suspected manipulation of shares in investment firm China Ding Yi Feng Holdings between 2018 and early 2019.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) ordered a trading suspension in Ding Yi Feng’s shares in March this year. The company stock jumped 145% in 2018 following a 1,303% surge in the previous year.

The SFC said in March it had ordered nine brokers to freeze client accounts related to suspected manipulation of shares in Ding Yi Feng.

March’s list and Tuesday’s had the name of just one broker in common, Sun Hung Kai Investment Services.

Separately, the SFC on Tuesday also ordered 14 brokers to freeze client accounts linked to suspected manipulation of shares of IT company Smartac Group China Holdings Ltd between October 2018 and March 2019.

Ding Yi Feng owned 3.5 percent of Smartac as of the end of 2018, its largest investment, the former’s annual results for that year showed.

Smartac’s shares rose 775% between 30 October and 14 December last year, when they peaked at HK$1.05 a share. On Tuesday, Smartac’s shares closed at HK$0.315 a share.

The SFC said in both statements on Tuesday, in the interests of investing public, the brokers were prohibited from disposing of assets held in the accounts, and from dealing with them.

The brokers, were not under investigation, the securities watchdog said.

Neither Ding Yi Feng nor Smartac had an immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

(Reporting by Alun John and Felix Tam; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and David Evans)

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