In particular, the writ said, the firm had explained to the authorities that some HK$744 million of the frozen HK$1.57 billion was a result of investment returns from an Abu Dhabi sovereign fund.
But the police showed no intention of releasing all or part of the amount, in their last contact on June 8, the writ said.
By holding its assets indefinitely, the firm argued, the police commissioner, the defendant named in the court challenge, had violated its private rights to properties, protected by the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law.
The move, Anton said, “interferes with the use or disposal of the property of an individual, which imposes criminal liability without prescribing any time limit for the expiry of such decision and, more importantly, any rights of the affected person … to apply to the court to vary or dismiss the decision”.
It was referring to the refusal by police to place Anton’s application before the court, an option the firm was seeking to gain access to the funds. Instead, the police opted to use their legal power to compel the bank directly to follow their request.
Anton contended that the police were being “utterly unreasonable” and “unfair” since freezing the accounts without giving a time frame for their release would have an adverse effect on the company.
“All along, Anton has had no idea on what basis did the police continue with the freezing of the accounts, month after month,” the firm complained.
Anton is now asking the court to declare that the freezing of its funds was illegal, and to decide whether they should remain frozen.