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STORY: The chairman of Chinese property developer Evergrade, Hui Ka Yan, has been placed under police surveillance.
That’s according to reports Wednesday (September 27) from Bloomberg, which would mark a new setback for the company at the heart of China's real estate crisis.
It said Hui was taken away by police earlier this month, and is being monitored at a designated location.
The report says reasons for the move aren’t clear.
It says surveillance is a step short of formal detention or arrest, and does’t mean Hui will be charged with a crime.
Reuters wasn’t immediately able to verify the report.
However, earlier this month police in southern China detained some staff at Evergrande’s wealth management unit.
The move suggested that an investigation was under way.
Now the new reports are sure to add to pressure on the embattled property giant.
Evergrande is the world’s most indebted firm.
Its fate -- and that of the wider Chinese property sector -- is of key concern to investors worldwide, with real estate accounting for a quarter of China’s economy.
Moves by Beijing to boost property firms have so far failed to impress markets.
But Natixis senior economist Gary Ng says they could eventually pay off:
"On the one hand, of course there is an economic factor in terms of whether the firm has enough cash flow to actually support its businesses and we do see there are more policy support in the real estate sector. So therefore I think things may actually start improving.”
Evergrande shares had already plunged in recent days following reports of missed debt payments.
On Wednesday, the stock tumbled again following the latest reports, sliding as much as 18%.