This is the third article in my refresher series about the powers that be at Birmingham City. You can read the other articles by clicking this link.
I’ve tried to make this article as simple as possible, but I’m going to warn that there are lots of names, company names and percentages, and I cannot do much about that.
It may seem confusing but this is the point. The owners of the club want the situation to be as confusing as possible, because it means people will give up trying to understand.
One of the most difficult things about this piece was deciding who to include and who not to. If I included any known shareholder in Birmingham Sports Holdings as “an owner”, I’d have to include myself even though my stake in the club is miniscule.
For the sake of simplicity, I have used a 5% minimum stake as critieria in who to include as a shareholder in BSH. This is because any person owning a stake of more than 5% must disclose as such to the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.
The chain of ownership goes thus:
Birmingham Sports Holdings own 75% of Birmingham City plc, which owns 100% of BCFC.
Ownership details for the club can always be accessed by clicking here.
BC plc – Birmingham City plc
BCSL – Birmingham City Stadium Ltd
BSH – Birmingham Sports Holdings
Also known as: Wang Dong
Based: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Been to St Andrew’s: No
Ownership Details: 23.53% BSH, 21.64% BC plc, 25% BCSL
Vong Pech is Chinese-born Cambodian businessman, and he owns stakes in the club and St Andrew’s via two companies which are incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
The first company is called Ever Depot, which owns a 23.53% stake in BSH. Ever Depot also owns a Cambodian company called Graticity Real Estate Development, which owns and operates the One Park development in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
The second company is called Oriental Rainbow Investments, which owns a 21.64% stake in Birmingham City plc, and 25% stake in Birmingham City Stadium Limited. This company doesn’t do anything else that we know of, but what we do know is that when it bought the stake in BC plc, it also had a portion of the debt owed to BSH assigned to it. As of the accounts filed by BSH in September, 2021 this debt was approximately HK$213.359M (about £20.6M)
Combining the two investments above means that Vong Pech owns 39.29% of the club.
There is only a limited amount of information online about Vong Pech, which I have tried to supplement from contacts I have made in South East Asia.
What we do know is that he is director of many companies in Cambodia, including a bank called Asia-Pacific Development Bank and a natural gas supplier called Cambodia Natural Gas Corp. Filings from these companies and their known parents show that Vong Pech is connected to some powerful members of Cambodian government.
We also know from various filings that Vong Pech owns land apparently worth billions of US dollars. This land is located in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
Although a Cambodian citizen, according to his passport Vong Pech was born in China and I have currently unverifiable information that his birth name was Wang Dong.
Paul Suen Cho Hung
Also Known As: Sun Wang
Based: Hong Kong
Been to St Andrew’s: No
Ownership Details: 28.12% BSH, 0.21% BC plc
Despite there being no pictures of Paul Suen Cho Hung online, his name is probably the most known of the three largest shareholders in the club.
Suen owns his stakes in both BSH and BC plc via Trillion Trophy Asia Ltd, a company which is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. His total calculated stake is 21.20%, which makes him the second largest shareholder in the club despite being the largest shareholder in BSH.
Unlike the other people mentioned in this article, Suen is somewhat well known in financial circles. He has a reputation for being the “Penny Stock King” in Hong Kong and has owned substantial stakes in many companies. His modus operandi has always been to take on a distressed company, to fix it and sell it on but this has been a somewhat difficult thing to do with BSH.
Suen also owns the Les Ambassadeurs Casino in Mayfair, London and has recently invested in a London Stock Exchange-listed company called Playtech. As per the latest filing I can find, Suen owns 14,115,010 shares (4.61%) of the company. At market close on Tuesday, those shares were trading at 723.50p each, which means Suen’s stake in the company is valued at £102.122M.
Sadly, while Suen has been pumping huge amounts of money into speculation in Playtech, it’s been obvious from the loan account that BSH has with TTA that he has not been putting money into the club. As per the last accounts, BSH currently owes TTA just HK$49.2M (about £4.763M).
Indeed, Suen cares that little about TTA he even allowed the website for the company to lapse. It’s since been picked up by someone else now – take a look: www.trilliontrophyasia.com.
Based: ??, China
Been to St Andrew’s: No
Ownership Details: 17.08% BSH
It’s safe to say we don’t know much about Lei Sutong. He received his stake in BSH in lieu of payment for a loan his company Dragon Villa made to BSH; and the percentage he owns has slowly been diluted as further shares have been issued.
I’ve spent quite a lot of time trying to track down Lei Sutong online and I’ve only had one small success.
Chinese company check website Aiqicha shows that Lei Sutong is legal representative and shareholder in a company called 高博盛腾(北京)教育咨询有限公司 (or Gao Bo Sheng Teng (Beijing) Education Consulting Co Ltd. This company has a website with an English section which shows it’s an educational facility within the Solana shopping complex in the Chaoyang district of Beijing. I’m still working on what Lei does for this company, but I do think it’s interesting it’s within a shopping complex that is publicly linked with the elusive Mr King, Wang Yaohui.
Neither Lei nor Dragon Villa have made any further loans to Birmingham Sports Holdings.
Been to St Andrew’s: ??
Ownership Details: 75% BCSL
Although Kang Ming-Ming does not own any of the club, her British Virgin Islands investment company Achiever Global Group Ltd owns 75% of the company which owns St Andrew’s.
What we know about Kang is very, very limited. A search of the Taiwanese company registry drew a blank, while a search of the Hong Kong company registry turned up one company called Joy Rise Technology Ltd where Kang is listed as a director. That company gave a known company address for Mr King in Hong Kong, while Kang’s residential address was given as a council tenement in Taipei.
I’m still working on one possible connection (including a picture) that I believe is Kang, but until I find conclusive proof of it (or my emails are acknowledged), I am choosing to withhold this information for now.
Also known as: Mr King, Wan Sokha
Based: London; Singapore; Hong Kong
Been to St Andrew’s: Yes
Ownership Details: None
While I have to stress that officially, Wang Yaohui owns no part of BCFC, BSH or BCSL the amount of connections between him and directors of BCFC, BSH and BCSL lead me to believe he is the shadow controller of all three.
The sheer number of connections one can make using online company registry resources between Wang and people such as Vong Pech, Lei Sutong and Kang Ming-Ming defy coincidence, and the fact that I have photographic proof of Wang Yaohui visiting St Andrew’s in the presence of former CEO Ren Xuandong only solidifies the case further.
Previous articles on this website have outlined past issues Wang Yaohui has had with the authorities in China; the implication being that Wang is now hiding any connection he has with businesses behind various cutouts to ensure he can continue to operate.
In my next piece on Wang Yaohui I’m intending to further show his connection to Vong Pech and Graticity Real Estate Development in Cambodia, as well as how another cutout is operating for Wang Yaohui in London.
People mentioned in this article
Paul Suen Cho Hung
Companies mentioned in this article
Birmingham City plc
Birmingham City Stadium Ltd
Birmingham Sports Holdings Ltd
Ever Depot Ltd
Graticity Real Estate Development Ltd
Oriental Rainbow Investments
Trillion Trophy Asia
Achiever Global Group Ltd