China factory stand-off ends with arrests

Shanghai Turbo Enterprises has regained access to a factory in China owned by a key operating subsidiary with the help of the local authorities, including riot police, following a stand-off that turned violent.

On Wednesday, five people including a Singaporean board member and the subsidiary's chief executive were allegedly assaulted by associates of Mr Liu Ming, the former executive director of the Singapore-listed company.

Two of the men who were purportedly hit with plastic batons by the attackers were Mr Raymond Lim, an independent non-executive director, and Mr Zhang Rong, CEO of its Changzhou 3D Technological Complete Set Equipment subsidiary. The injuries sustained by the five included broken bones, the company noted.

Following the assault, the victims made a report to the local police and to the Singapore Consulate-General in Shanghai.

In an update on Thursday, Shanghai Turbo said that the local government and riot police had quickly intervened to eject the group of former employees and their external accomplices from the factory premises. "The assault incident (was) directly followed by the swift intervention of the local authorities, using riot police to evict the group of trespassers from the factory premises. Local police have arrested several of them," it said in a filing to the Singapore Exchange.

In its statement, Shanghai Turbo said the board was pleased that the impasse, which lasted more than five months, has finally ended.

The management of Changzhou 3D is taking stock of the production machinery and inventory, as well as documentary records. Some 50 employees have also returned to their work stations.

The company will make further announcements to update shareholders on any developments after obtaining access to the business and accounting records and when the losses and damage to the group are ascertained, it added.

The kerfuffle on Wednesday arose after Mr Lim, 67, and his party of four tried to enter the factory, which led to a protracted stand-off between new management and supporters of the old personnel.

Shanghai Turbo said on Monday that it was suing Mr Liu for "failing to deliver up the factory premises", which it had described in July as facing an "illegal occupation... by some of the former management personnel and their associates".

It also said a Singapore High Court has granted an injunction to freeze Mr Liu's Singapore assets.

Shanghai Turbo shares yesterday eased half a cent to close at $1.21.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2017, with the headline 'China factory stand-off ends with arrests'. Subscribe