The detainment of a Chinese real estate mogul has seen billions of dollars wiped off the value of his real estate empire in Shanghai.
Billionaire Wang Zhenhua, who founded Future Land Development Holdings in 1996, was detained after a woman alleged he had sexually assaulted her nine-year-old daughter in a hotel on June 29, news.com.au reports.
According to the South China Morning Post, China's top political body responsible for law and order claimed he "took children as his playthings" and vowed to bring him to justice.
"Wang, who is a successful businessman, a philanthropist, a national model worker, took children as his plaything. This is so dirty and obscene," the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission alleged on social media.
Shanghai police said in a statement that they had detained a 57-year-old man, identified only by his surname, for alleged child molestation in a local hotel.
"At 9pm on July 3, Shanghai police issued a briefing on its official Weibo account. From that, it has been confirmed by the police that Wang Zhenhua, the de facto controller of Seazen Holdings, is suspected of molesting a girl," a Chinese state-run news agency reported on Thursday.
Wang has not been formally charged or arrested but is being held under criminal detention.
Furue Land said in a statement it had removed Wang as chairman. Its shares plunged by 36 per cent on the Hong Kong stock exchange between Wednesday and Friday last week, which shares in S-Enjoy Service Group — a company in which Wang has a 73 per cent stake — crashed 41 per cent over the same period.
According to police, a woman — identified only by her surname Zhou — has also been detained in relation with the case. She allegedly took the child to the hotel in Shanghai from her home in neighbouring Jiangsu province.
Another company set up and chaired by Wang, Seazen Holdings, said it was "deeply worried, shocked and upset that it was our founder who started this storm".
"We, as well as the public, think juveniles are the future of society, and any behaviour that harms them should be punished by the law," the company said in a statement.