Repco Low acquittal overtuned, ordered to enter defence

Kuala Lumpur: Low Thiam Hock, better known as Repco Low in stock market circles for gaining notoriety as a market mover in the 1990s, has been ordered to defend manipulation charges against him dating back to more than a decade.

The Securities Commission (SC) said that the Court of Appeal had unanimously overturned the decision by the High Court and Sessions Court to acquit Low for manipulating the price of Repco Holdings Bhd shares on the-then Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange or KLSE on Dec 3, 1997.

With this, Low has been ordered to enter his defence at the Sessions Court. He would have to answer the charge under s84(1) of the Securities Industry Act 1983 (SIA), which carries the penalty of a minimum fine of RM1mil and maximum jail term of up to 10 years, the SC said in its statement.

The Court of Appeal, in allowing the appeal by the SC, had unanimously held that the charge against Low, as it stood, was sufficient to “describe and sustain” the said offence.

Low has been ordered to enter his defence against the charge of instructing a dealer's representative at Sime Securities Sdn Bhd to purchase Repco shares “by taking up any offer prices of the said shares offered by the sellers, which act was calculated to create a misleading appearance with respect to the price of Repco shares on the KLSE on 3 Dec 1997”. The case will be mentioned on March 7.

Low got his nickname when he was a director of Repco, at the time a Sabah-based gaming company whose stock was a highflier in the 1996 second board stock market bull run.

The company's shares flew to a high of RM140.50 per share in September 1997 but collapsed to just RM2.98 less than a year later. In October 2000, the stock was suspended from trading on Bursa Malaysia and de-listed three years later.

Low was charged for the manipulation of shares in Repco in 2000 but walked out a free man in 2006 without his defence being called, after a seven-year trial.

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