A faction of activist hacker group Anonymous has accused Chinese companies of accounting fraud, triggering a plunge in stock prices.
Anonymous Analytics said it has set its sights on Chinese companies because a number of illicit acts have been reported.
A representative told The Asahi Shimbun that the next targets will be U.S. and European companies and possibly Japanese.
In late April, Anonymous Analytics released a report on the Internet, alleging that Huabao International Holdings Ltd., a maker of tobacco and food flavors and fragrances, is jacking up stock prices on fake sales and profit-margin figures.
The 44-page report also accused founder Chu Lam Yiu, on Forbes’ billionaire list, of corruptly amassing a fortune.
Huabao’s stock tumbled on the Hong Kong exchange, and officials were forced to hold a teleconference to explain the company’s stance to investors.
When it was formed in September, Anonymous Analytics alleged window-dressing by a Hong Kong-listed food trading company. Its stock also declined, and regulators investigated.
Anonymous Analytics said the findings are based on its own research.
The group looked into Huabao after analyzing information on websites for whistle-blowers and other sources.
Since autumn, members traveled to Germany, where Huabao operates a research base, and Botswana, where it acquired a company, in addition to China.
The group also said it consulted computer experts, accountants, lawyers and others before publishing the report.
According to the BBC, Anonymous in early April hacked about 500 websites of governments and companies in China and posted messages calling upon the masses to stand up against the Chinese government.
The representative of Anonymous Analytics declined to comment whether the release of the Huabao report has to do with the hacking, citing safety reasons.
(This article was written by Erika Toh and Keiko Yoshioka.)
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