Unpaid Chinese investors descend on offices of martial arts movie backer

Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:51am EDT
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By Jake Spring

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - More than 100 Chinese investors descended on the Shanghai offices of Jinlu Financial Advisors on Thursday demanding their money back from investments, including those tied to a martial arts film whose box office figures were inflated.

Investors on the scene told Reuters that the asset manager invested in movies, real estate and various other sectors and had failed to pay out on investments maturing on or after March 25. They said they had not been informed of reasons for the delayed payments.

According to the investors and Chinese media reports, those movies include Ip Man 3, whose distributor admitted last week to buying 56 million yuan ($8.66 million) in tickets to bump up sales.

The Chinese film industry has been "blighted" by cinemas and distributors cheating to inflate box office figures through accounting ploys or other tricks, such as claiming ticket sales that exceed an auditorium's capacity, state-owned Xinhua news agency said in its report on the Ip Man 3 fraud last week.

A man at Jinlu Financial Advisors who identified himself as working at the company said he wasn't authorized to comment on the matter. Other representatives of the company were unavailable to comment and calls to the financial firm's offices went unanswered.

Cao Luhua, 31, told Reuters his wealth manager called Thursday morning to say it was possible he wouldn't be able to get roughly 1 million yuan invested with Jinlu Financial Advisors back.

Cao said a friend who worked at the company had suggested he invest.

"It's my whole family's money," he said, speaking outside Jinlu's offices as dozens of angry investors came and went.   Continued...

A man performs during a promotional event for the movie "Ip Man 3" in Beijing, China, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer