Security personnel in the Chinese city of Shenzhen on Thursday took away protesters who gathered outside the headquarters of cash-strapped real estate developer China Evergrande Group.
The country’s second-biggest property developer is wrestling with a liquidity crisis, scrambling to raise funds as it teeters between a messy meltdown with far-reaching impacts, a managed collapse or a government bailout.
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Disgruntled Evergrande investors, as well as vendors who say they are owed money, have gathered this week at company headquarters in the southern city and reportedly elsewhere in China.
“Every day, we’re here waiting for some sort of policy for us but nothing comes, so we have no choice but to stay,” one protester said.
Uniformed security could be seen detaining at least two among about two dozen protesters and forming a circle around those who remained, locking arms so that none could leave while the two were taken away.
Security personnel responded to sporadic chants of “Evergrande return our money” by waving a banner that said “police evidence” while an officer filmed the protesters who were shouting.
During a thunderstorm, a crying woman, who was sitting among remaining protesters and approaching security personnel, was carried away to a nearby police van.
Earlier on Thursday, Evergrande’s main unit, Hengda Real Estate Group Co Ltd, applied to suspend trading of its onshore corporate bonds following a downgrade.
Evergrande shares fell to their lowest in a decade as fears mount that a messy debt default could send shockwaves through China’s property market and the broader economy.
Those contagion fears weighed on Hong Kong stocks for a fourth straight day, dragging the Hang Seng index to a 10-month closing low.