Thursday, 28 February 2013

"Repco Low": Justice delayed is justice denied

Article from Malaysian Insider's website, in chronological sequence:
  • Low (former executive chairman of Repco Holdings Bhd) was alleged to have instructed a representative of Sime Securities Sdn Bhd to buy Repco Holdings shares by taking up any offer price of the shares by sellers on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. This was an act calculated to create a misleading appearance with respect to the price of Repco shares on the share market. He committed the offence at the 21st floor of Sime Securities, Bangunan Sime Bank in Jalan Sultan Sulaiman, Kuala Lumpur between 11am and 5pm on Dec 3, 1997.
  • Low was charged in the Sessions Court in 1999
  • On Nov 14, 2006, the Sessions Court acquitted Low without ordering him to enter his defence after finding that the charge against him was defective.
  • On Oct 15, 2010, the High Court dismissed the prosecution’s appeal and upheld Low’s acquittal.
  • February 28, 2013: The Court of Appeal here today ordered businessman Low Thiam Hock, popularly known as Repco Low, to enter his defence on a charge of share manipulation.
Every old hand (and I am myself one) remembered the "Wild West" days when Repco was trading above RM 100. I still remembered a buy-recommendation from my broker (TA Securities) at around RM 110, with a price target of RM 160 (I can't remember the exact details, but roughly these numbers should be correct). It all had to do with a lottery license which might or might not get approved. However, bubbles don't last forever, and reality did strike, also for Repco's share price.

In 1995 Repco was trading at RM 4.36, this is what happened:

"At the Sessions Court, expert witnesses testified that the price of Repco, which opened at RM108.50 per lot closed at RM113 on Dec 3, 1997. The very next day, the court heard, when there were no buying activities, the price tumbled to RM110 and further dropped to RM11.20 in three weeks."

The offence allegedly took place in 1997, but 16 years later the court case is still on going? Quite unbelievable. As they say, "Justice delayed is Justice denied".

The Securities Commission has initiated another case which also involved "Repco Low", the article can be found here.

"From September 2005 to May 2006, the price of Iris shares rose by 17 times from eight sen to close at a high of RM1.36 on the back of very strong demand with an average of 200 million shares being traded daily. The SC’s investigation found that the manipulation was carried out through a complex layering of the origination of the orders and transactions via foreign intermediaries in several jurisdictions"


  1. This is a good example of why the public has lost confidence in our judiciary. After 16 years, the matter is still on going. Now the matter will go back to Sessions Court for trial and Low is required to enter his defense. Whatever the verdict of the Sessions Court (convicted or otherwise), the dissatisfied party (Low or prosecutor) can still appeal to High Court and Court of Appeal. Guess it will take another 16 years.

  2. Agree, not much of a deterrent this way.

  3. I thought courts will dispose criminal matters fast. This Repco Low case is really unprecedented. If that is the case, anyone can engage in stock market manipulation in his/her 50s and make big money. The court process will take so many years. He/she could have enjoyed all the money and die before the verdict is given.