Lily Chiang's bid for bail rejected
Jailed businesswoman Lily Chiang Lai-lei lost her bid for bail pending appeal after a high court judge ruled that she had no 'reasonably arguable ground' for appeal.
Chiang, 51, the daughter of industrialist Chiang Chen and the first woman to chair the General Chamber of Commerce, was jailed by the District Court in June last year for 31/2 years for a HK$3 million scam.
In asking for bail yesterday, Chiang's lawyer Michael Blanchflower said that if his client was not released she would have served two-thirds of her sentence by the time of the appeal hearing in March next year.
But Mr Justice Michael Lunn, in the Court of First Instance, said: 'I'm not persuaded that there is any reasonably arguable ground of appeal such that refusing the application for bail pending appeal would lead to unfairness or prejudice.'
The setback for Chiang came on her son's birthday, her husband Gino Yu, an associate professor at Polytechnic University, said outside court.
Explaining his decision, Lunn said the fact that the appeal would not be heard until 21 months after Chiang lodged the application was to some extent her own doing.
He said it had been her choice to change her lawyers during the application for the appeal and it was the lawyers who told the court that they were not available this year although the court had suggested hearing the appeal in October or November.
Lunn also rejected Chiang's criticism that the trial judge had erred in assessing the credibility of witnesses, and he dismissed claims that District Court Judge Albert Wong Sung-hau had not addressed the likelihood of witness coaching by Independent Commission Against Corrupt officers.
Chiang's lawyers complained that Wong failed to deal with the effect on a key witness' reliability after a graft-buster repeated to the witness a statement she made earlier and provided her with a summary.
Lunn also rejected a contention that the trial judge had shifted the burden of proof from the prosecution to the defendant.
Five days have been reserved from March 8 next year for the appeal. Chiang's family and friends said they had not decided to appeal against Lunn's decision to refuse her bail.
The former high-flying businesswoman had been found guilty of fraud, conspiracy to defraud and authorising a prospectus that included an untrue statement.
The court heard that Chiang had designed a scam in which others held options or shares in two listed companies on her behalf. The options were said to have been rewards for senior officers at Chiang's companies, but the recipients were low-ranking employees including Chiang's driver and personal assistant.
Her co-defendant Tahir Hussain Shah, 45, earlier failed in his application for bail pending an appeal against his two-year jail term for conspiracy to defraud.
Another co-accused, Pau Kwok-ping, 54, was jailed for 19 months for fraud and issuing a prospectus that included an untrue statement.