In a dramatic hostage situation now entering its sixth day, Chinese clients of Australia based retail FX brokerage USGFX continue to hold a number of the company’s employees as hostages, barricaded inside USGFX’s Shanghai offices.
Somewhere between 30 to 50 USGFX clients entered the offices last Wednesday, demanding the return of about $2.6 million in losses they had reportedly incurred on Australia-to-U.S. dollar (AUDUSD) trades last week, blaming USGFX for their losses.
The clients initially held 20 staff as hostages, refusing to let them leave until their demands were met. By the beginning of the weekend a number of the staff were let go, but several (reportedly three employees, from China and Taiwan) remain inside the offices with the irate clients.
USGFX, the operating name for ASIC licensed Union Standard International Group Pty Ltd, is apparently worried about the fate of their employees as the drama has dragged on for so long. The company is apparently also flummoxed that Chinese police have not yet intervened to put an end to the affair.
Justin Pooni, marketing manager for USGFX was quoted on the situation:
This is a clear violation of the law with intruders holding people against their will. I would have thought that the police would intervene at this stage. We are continuing to work with the local authorities in an attempt to bring this situation to end.
Australia financial regulator ASIC has continued to follow the episode from afar, stating that it has been in contact with USGFX to understand if the continued standoff is having any impact on its overall operations.
Interestingly, USGFX went ahead with a planned weekend trading seminar on Saturday, in the Huadu district of Guangzhou.
The company released a number of pictures and videos on WeChat detailing the situation inside the office: