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China imposes 5.5b yuan fine for manipulation


CHINA slapped a company with fines totalling 5.5 billion yuan (S$1.1 million) for manipulating the stock market, the biggest ever punishment for such an infringement.

Xiamen Beibadao Group was charged with manipulating the share prices of three Shenzhen-listed companies - Jiangsu Zhangjiagang Rural Commercial Bank Co, Jiangsu Jiangyin Rural Commercial Bank Co and Guangdong Hoshion Aluminium Co - China's securities regulator said in a briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

The penalty is almost six times what Xiamen Beibadao earned by manipulating the shares in the space of two months, the watchdog said.

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China has been mounting a campaign to stamp out illicit behaviour in its equity market, which despite being the second-largest in the world, is dominated by individual, often first-time investors. The drive has been stepped up over the past year, with Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, saying in February 2017 that he would pursue market malpractice and wrongdoing no matter whether it is "historical or current".

The severity of Xiamen Beibadao's punishment is not unusual. Last December, an equities trader in the city of Foshan, in Guangdong province, was fined 54 million yuan for manipulating 15 stocks and making a profit of 27 million yuan. A week later, another trader in nearby Shenzhen copped a one million yuan fine for a stock-price manipulation plan that actually lost him money. BLOOMBERG