Former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui and property tycoon Thomas Kwok have had their appeals against their convictions for conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office dismissed.
Rafael Hui was convicted in 2014 and jailed for seven and a half years for accepting payments totalling HK$8.5 million in 2005 via two middlemen. The money was in return for acting as former Sun Hung Kai Properties joint chairman Thomas Kwok's "eyes and ears" in the government.
The two middlemen – former Sun Hung Kai Properties director Thomas Chan and former stock exchange official Francis Kwan – were also convicted of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
In this appeal, their lawyers argued that the payments did not amount to an agreement by the former chief secretary to misconduct himself in public office. They said there was no 'relevant act' of misconduct involved.
But Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma described the payment as "conspiratorial", as it was in return for Hui's favourable disposition while in office. He said Hui's independence was hopelessly compromised and he could not properly discharge his duties nor be trusted to do so.
Justice Ma said this was a serious abuse of office and public trust.
The five judge panel accordingly dismissed the appeals. Thomas Kwok, who was out on bail, was ordered to return to prison to serve out his five-year term.
His son, Adam Kwok, said he was disappointed but respects the verdict. "Even if we don’t understand or agree, we respect the court’s decision. Even though there are some grievances, I don’t think it matters anymore."
"Even though we think that ... there was a lot of misdirection to the jury in the original trial, that led to an unsafe verdict, a verdict of whether the payment was consultancy or whether it was a bribe, the trial process and the way that it was presented to the jury was not fair. I don’t think all of that is relevant anymore”, he said.
Last updated: 2017-06-14 HKT 10:29