Panama-domiciled firm China Joy Shipping has filed a petition in Hong Kong to liquidate heavily indebted HNA Group, its second attempt to do so since 2012, the South China Morning Post reported.

A Hong Kong court has scheduled a hearing on the case for August 26, according to records on the Hong Kong Judiciary’s website without giving further details of the complaint.

The first time it tried to forcibly wind up activities at the Chinese conglomerate - which has been a de facto ward of the Chinese government since February - was when it filed a case with Hong Kong’s High Court in 2012 after a debt default.

It withdrew the case in February 2013 when HNA promised to repay the total outstanding debt of USD400,000. China Joy eventually terminated its operations in Hong Kong in March 2020.

The development is another blow to the Haikou-based group, which shoulders a debt mountain exceeding CNY700 billion yuan (USD98 billion), accumulated during a multibillion-dollar global spending spree between 2011 and March 2017.

As the coronavirus pandemic hammers the conglomerate's core businesses in aviation, logistics, tourism, and real estate, its subsidiaries, including Hainan Airlines Holding and West Air (China), have deferred multiple bond payments this year worth millions of yuan.

Its Hainan Airlines unit had planned a CNY4.5 billion (USD630 million) sale of nine aircraft to another unit, HNA Aviation (Hong Kong), but the deal was dropped on May 27 after HNA Aviation suddenly changed its operational strategy, according to a stock exchange filing.