LIVE: Jury discharged at Hong Kong's most high profile corruption trial

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 9:42am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 May, 2014, 12:27pm


The prosecution in the most high profile graft trial in Hong Kong's history was today put on hold after issues with the jury forced its dismissal. The city's former number two official and the co-chairmen of one of the world's major real estate firms are in the dock. Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan is accused of receiving HK$34 million in bribes and other financial inducements from billionaire brothers Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, the chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP).

Noon: With the case adjourned, that will be all for today's live report. Join us again when the prosecution finally does open for up to the minute reporting of events in the courtroom.

11.30am: The case has been adjourned.

11.20am: "Thank you for your patience. Your services will no longer be required," the judge tells the eight jury members. Addressing the woman with the flight booked, he adds: "You can now go to Korea."

11.15am: The panel of eight jurors are summoned back to the courtroom and they are all discharged, throwing the process into disarray. All are told to leave the court.

10.55am: Scenes in court are becoming farcical as another juror raises objections. She tells the judge she had changed the date of a flight to South Korea to serve on the jury, but now the travel agent wants to charge her for switching the flight. The eight remaining jurors are again sent out.

10.48am: After some discussions about the juror's medical condition and his working hours - the juror in question had earlier also mentioned he had to get to work after the trial had wrapped up for the day - the judge has dismissed him. It is unclear whether the case can now continue.

10.38am: Discussions over. The jury, consisting of four women and five men, is summoned back to the courtroom. The nine were chosen from a 150-strong pool of potential candidates, in a selection process on Monday that took around two hours.

10.18am: There's a delay to the opening as a juror tells the judge he is still in pain following a double-hernia operation in March. The entire jury is sent out of the courtroom while the matter is discussed. The discussions cannot be reported for legal reasons.

10.11am: The defendants, all dressed in suits and ties, sit in the glass-encased dock in two rows. In the front is Thomas Kwok, flanked by brother Raymond and Rafael Hui, while the co-defendants are seated behind.

10.04am: Mr Justice Andrew Macrae arrives at 10am on the dot. The nine-member jury files in a short time later, with the juror who fell sick yesterday, detaining the opening of the prosecution for half a day, back to good health. It will be a long slog for everyone involved, as the case is penned in to run possibly until October.

9.47am: Prosecutor David Perry QC enters the courtroom. The prosecution is expected to open its case against the five defendants - brothers Raymond Kwok Ping-luen and Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong; Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, and executive director of SHKP and former Hong Kong Stock Exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang - at 10am.

9.40am: With tempers finally calmed scores of reporters and members of the public file up to the fifth floor of the courthouse, as lawyers carrying bundles of documents enter the courtroom. Raymond Kwok stops in front of photographers to allow them to take pictures before entering the building.

9.30am: Good morning and welcome to the SCMP's live coverage of Hong Kong's biggest ever graft trial. Colourful scenes at the courthouse ahead of the opening of the prosecution, with journalists clamouring for spots in the High Court. Media outlets had started to queue for seats as early as 7pm Tuesday night. This morning tempers flared among journalists as one was caught trying to remove pre-registered names from the media seating plan.