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Former Hong Kong fugitive flies to US from Thailand to face stock manipulation charges

A former Hong Kong fugitive has flown back to the US to face the music over his alleged stock manipulation crime.

The businessman, Peter Coker junior, was allegedly involved with a money-losing New Jersey deli that was once valued at US$100 million.

The defendant is expected to appear in US District Court in Newark, New Jersey after his co-conspirators were arrested late last year in the US state of North Carolina.

The two other people involved in the alleged crimes were his father, 83 year old Peter Coker, and a man named James Patten.

Coker was arrested in Phuket in mid-January and has been held in a Bangkok jail waiting to be flown to the US.

The 54 year old’s lawyer says his legal team is “still in discussions with” the US Attorney’s Office in New Jersey over a possible bail package. His lawyer did not comment on whether prosecutors were opposed to a judge releasing Coker on bond.

The case involved the New Jersey deli owner, Hometown International, and a shell company named E-Waste.

The three men are accused of fraudulently pumping up the value of the publicly traded companies, with the deli being falsely valued at US$100 million. The deli reportedly had less than US$40,000 in total annual revenue.

Prosecutors allege that the values of Hometown International and E-Waste stock were inflated by 939% and 19,900% respectively, through manipulated trades in shares.

Coker junior had served as the chairman of Hometown International, whose sole asset was the Your Hometown Deli in Paulsboro, New Jersey. Coker senior was allegedly a major shareholder in the company.

Those publicly traded companies were allegedly being marketed as candidates for mergers with private companies.

Coker junior was arrested on January 11 in a hotel room in the Thalang district of Phuket province in Thailand. The International Criminal Police Organisation, or Interpol, issued red and black notices after the FBI alerted it.

Thai police, along with the FBI, traced Coker junior to the hotel room where they placed him under arrest.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.