Smoke bombs and pepper spray: latest twist in fight for China cement maker

HONG KONG, April 10 (Reuters) - China Shanshui Cement Group

Ltd said its executives were attacked with pepper

spray, smoke bombs and water guns and then held for two hours by

associates of a former official when they tried to retake

control of company property.

According to the Securities Times newspaper, Shanshui Cement

executives organised a crowd of around 600 people, wearing red

arm bands, white gloves and wielding sticks and axes, to storm

and gain control of a company facility in the city of Jinan.

The abnormally hostile corporate battle is the latest

development in current management's dispute with former deputy

general manager Mi Jingtian. Accusing him of "suspected

misconduct", the company said in December it had suspended Mi

from his duties at unit Shandong Shanshui and all its

subsidiaries.

Shanshui Cement said in its filing on Monday it had

appointed legal advisers to take action against Mi and his

associates over what it described as an illegal occupation and

criminal action.

Mi could not be reached for comment. It was not known if he

has retained a lawyer.

Photos run by business website Sina.com showed smoke

billowing from a facility described as the Shanshui Cement

plant.

An employee at the affected Shanshui Cement facility who

answered the phone told Reuters there had been a confrontation.

The employee, who declined to identify himself, also said that

Mi had 'acted lawfully'.

Jinan police could not be reached for comment. Other contact

numbers for Shanshui Cement, either in Jinan or Hong Kong could

not be obtained.

Shares in Shanshui Cement have been suspended since April

2015 as its public float fell below the 25 percent minimum level

required after Tianrui Group raised its stake to become the

company's biggest shareholder. A Tianrui representative was not

immediately available for comment.

At the end of February, its unit Shandong Shanshui Cement

defaulted on a 1 billion yuan ($146 million) bond.

(Reporting by Donny Kwok and Umesh Desai in HONG KONG, Adam

Jourdan and SHANGHAI NEWSROOM; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree;

Editing by Edwina Gibbs)