Often Partisan

Postcards From HK: Shenzhen Stories

As part of the research efforts for my book, I crossed the border into the People’s Republic of China to go to Shenzhen to look into Carson’s past and to meet people who had known for him a long time.

Shenzhen is a massive city of ten million people the other side of the border from Hong Kong. Built up from a small fishing village in the eighties, it’s now one of the ten biggest cities in China and a visible sign of the success story that is the Chinese economy. It’s also one of the places a young Carson Yeung started making money and a place where he still has massive connections.

The chief thing I spoke about in connection with Birmingham City was the holding company and how much trouble it was in. Over dinner I spoke with people who knew Carson, who had been involved with BIH when it was Grandtop and the overriding feeling I got is that the holding company are in a complicated situation.

There is no doubt that the company is in debt – it’s in the annual accounts and the company are announcing that they are having to borrow money to maintain liquidity. The bit that is interesting is who the debt is to. This time last year I reported on a stock market announcement from a company called China Water with respect to them being owed money by Birmingham International Holdings, and that China Water were likely to sue. It would appear that they haven’t as yet sued – and the money is still outstanding. Part of that is down to the complex nature of the loan – I intimated last year the connections between the loaning company and BIH – but it would appear part of it is down to some of the bigger problems Carson is facing, most notably his trial.

China Water were implicated in an SFC tribunal which saw both Carson and Vico mentioned in the same breath as money laundering. That judgement is available in full online and whilst it’s a hefty read at 180 plus pages it’s an intriguing one. The gist of Carson and Vico’s involvement was that China Water lent money to Vico to invest in new projects; Vico gave that money to Carson and to a Macau Casino and then Grandtop (as was), not Carson gave the money to Vico to give back to China Water. The judge at the time remarked that it showed all the hallmarks of money laundering.

The real problem seems to be that all the companies that BIH owe money to are all connected to Carson. Without some real forensic accounting skills and access to proper financial details it’s difficult to make sense of the situation but the impression I got from the people I’ve spoken to in HK and in Shenzhen is that it’s not a good situation within the BIH offices and that it will not be resolved quickly.

I have mentioned before that I’ve heard nothing about the sale of the club here in Hong Kong; I had heard rumours back in Birmingham but nothing that I could realistically mention let alone publish. Whilst talking to people who knew Carson and his family intimately, I asked them if they thought Carson wanted to sell the club. The answer to that question was a resounding no – read into that what you will.

This is probably my last “postcard” from these shores as I return to the UK at the end of this week. It’s been a useful trip and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to continue working on the information I have received for a while yet and to be able to continue to publish it here as and when I can.

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47 Responses to “Postcards From HK: Shenzhen Stories”

  • Baldrick says:

    Let me know next time you head to SZ. I worked there for a few years & can put you in touch with a bunch of good lads who can look after you & give you some insights into the city

  • sutton apex says:

    good work al – the plot thickens !!

  • mark says:

    Carson does not want to sell?

    • Mickey07 says:

      It looks like carson hasnt got a choice,the net is closing on him now,hes banging his head against a wall but must slowly be coming to his senses the game is up for him……rejoice…

  • Frankie says:

    I have never understood the need for BIHL.
    It looks like what is known as a ‘shell company’.
    If Carson Yeung wanted to own a British football club, what was the need to make it part of this ‘nonsense group’ ?

  • Ali Duncan says:

    Do these people still know Carson and his family intimately or are they old friends / acquaintances? It’s very easy to speculate about people that you used to know years before but really don’t know anymore after years have passed. People and their feelings, moods and opinions change.

  • Brian king says:

    I don’t understand and find a little bit contradictory is that you say that the real problem seems to be that all the companies that BIH owe money to are all connected to Carson. Surely this makes it simple as all the debt is to one person and not all over the place. Also what do you mean when you say that the it’s not a good situation within the BIH offices and that it will not be resolved quickly.

  • George says:

    Very interesting. If you want to talk business or just talk with the Chinese it’s essential to dine out and usually they pay!

    Carson has always wanted to hang onto the Blues. Its a passion linked to a lot of money. As I’ve said before its highly likely that the Club will stay in Chinese hands and it looks like CY will be in the background. Do we know how much is owed to China Water? They have not sued and neither has Vico for his £400k. Why? BIH are close to insolvency and administration and you don’t try to get your money out. Does not make sense, so there must be a good reason, like being involved in another deal such as a takeover.

  • George says:

    Wow! What is their business strategy? If they are providing the latest loans that would be very interesting. Are there any HK stock exchange rules that means the source of a loan has to be revealed?

  • George says:

    Well if you can identify the names of the new loan provider I think it’s key to finding out the identity of the next Blues owner.

    By the way the CY loan + Vico + China Water = Blues value (I would have thought).

  • Poppa999 says:

    Could it happen that China Water end up owning the Blues in settlement?

  • Poppa999 says:

    China Water wholly privately owned?

  • Frankie says:

    So BIHL is ostensibly then just a ‘conduit’ for moving money through and as such BCFC also ?

  • Agent McLeish says:

    I’ve heard a lot recently of people saying they are owed money but all stop short of taking legal action to recover. Got to ask yourself why.

  • TonyE says:

    BIH is running at a loss and has outstanding loans which it is unable to repay. Who in their right mind would provide this company with another loan with the strong possibility they will never see their money again? Also if CY truly does not want to sell the club, he’s deluded if he thinks the fans will ever forgive him.

  • BC1875 says:

    TonyE, thats is CY problem, he is a Deluded fool.

  • Tony says:

    Why was Chris Burk played in the development team the other night risking injury?.

  • dave mann says:

    carson yeung might say he doesent want to sell the club but surely thats out of his hands now
    through financial reasons and this court case, even if hes innocent do you honetly believe he
    can afford it, i dont think so,would the fans welcome him back, i dont think so, will he be in charge
    next season or even next year, i dont think so.
    chris burke playing in the development team is absoluetly shocking, forgrt the reasons cuz after
    saturday he should be in the first 11 every week. 3-5-2 should go now we navent got the players
    to play it…simples!KRO.

  • Gary R says:


    I’ll quote you on this: “I asked them if they thought Carson wanted to sell the club. The answer to that question was a resounding no”.

    My question: Does it really matter what CY wants? I doubt, going on what has been uncovered in recent weeks, that he has much say in the matter?

  • dave mann says:

    thats the point ime making Gary R, not wanting to sell it and having to sell it is 2 totally
    diffrent circumstances, the latter being is only option i would imagine,hes nothing left
    to sell besides the blues and he propably wont get the 40 million he wanted to start

  • StaffsBlue says:

    After selling off every asset but St Andrews… it would be interesting to know what realistic value has been put on the club now. Surely even the Chinese aren’t stupid enough to think it’s worth even £40m anymore? Or are they?

  • dave mann says:

    chris burke looks like the next one to go if hes stuck in the development team, which
    means our last asset will have gone and if CY gets the 30 million palladini offered
    he will be lucky, very lucky.KRO.

    • Bluenosesol says:

      Dave, I cant be sure of this, but Palladini’s offer was made knowing that there were still parachute payments coming in to offset the cost. I would imagine that now the offer would be £30m less our major assets (Davies and Redmond), less parachute payments received since the offer, so nearer £10m than £30m?

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I was thinking £20m tops myself… with St Andrews being the main asset. There again, I’ve no idea of the value of the ground.

        • Agent McLeish says:

          Maybe they’ll hold on till they sell the ground and get the last of the parachute money thefore completing the asset stripping of the club.. Could end up like Cov.

          I was really miffed when the court case was delayed again as a verdict would have already settled this.

  • Blueboy 88 says:

    Yeung & Pannu dont care about our club , if they did they wouldn’t have let this dire financial situation develop so agressively.

    Just a question of which of the clubs two last saleable assets ,
    St Andrews or Burke will be sold next..

  • Tony says:

    We are being conned and not just by the fat controller and the hairdresser,what is Clark playing at playing possibly our best player in the development squad?.
    If he gets hurt we wont get a penny for him, unless of course he is the latest player to fall out with the manager.

    • mark says:

      Tony – why do think burke cannot play in the development team??? even if its to keep him finely tuned. Why are you of the opinion where a fallout with the player!!! where your evidence to back this claim?/
      Clark is the manager of bcfc and he entitled to put any player regardless of their status in to any situation he feels that gets the best of that player……. so whats your gripe!!!!

      • Art Watson says:

        I suspect Tony has little faith in Clark or his decision making.

        Examine Clarks record at the Blues and I think you will find the eveidence to support Tony’s and my concerns.

        Clark is out of his depth in this league.

        • mark says:

          Decision making after 3 games??? Clark
          just put a team together from the ashes, and you and Tony are ready getting your banners out, how laughable………

          • Art Watson says:


            I think you know that my comment was based on his achievements since joining the club and not over the last 3 games.

            His record is appalling I’m afraid to say.

  • mark says:

    was Sullivan and the gold bothers looking to move away from stans…….due not getting planning permission…. why would be want to move to a bigger stadium when we cannot fill the one we got? sad really but absolute fact… regarding new owners taking stans on with a capacity of 15,000…..imo we see the last of the big spenders……………anyone who thinks they are coming to shell out millions are in dream world…….

  • mark says:

    The real problem seems to be that all the companies that BIH owe money to are all connected to Carson……..how complex is that going to be to unravel, and how protected is Carson if he connected to all the companies that BIH owe money to. No wonder no one sue anybody, it will come down to the last man standing imo……..if even Carson not in the limelight he will be pulling string further away………we have not seen the last of Carson too many fingers in the pie’s for him to just disappear……..

  • Tony says:

    Mark the gripe is playing arguably our best player in that side is rank bad management fear of injury for one reason

  • sw16girl says:

    If there are aspects of a deal you do not want aired in public (ie in court) then you will not sue for your money. If China Water and CY have been mentioned in open court as indulging in deals that look like money laundering then China Water may well not want to air all the details of any loan between them and BIH in open court.

    As far as CY not wanting to sell, as I have said before, when he sells any loss made on the purchase of the club will be crystalised and he will having nothing to hide behind when those people whose money it actually was that was used to buy the club, come knocking and want it back. If that is the case he will hold onto it as long as possible – ie until the club or BIH is forced into administration.

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