Witness upset after barrister dragged into ICAC case

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2006, 12:00am

A solicitor's clerk told the District Court yesterday he felt very upset that Kevin Egan had been dragged into a case that eventually saw the veteran barrister accused of perverting the course of justice and leaking confidential information to the press.

Frankie Chung Cheong-kuen, a prosecution witness who had been granted immunity, said he would have distanced himself from Becky Wong Pui-see had she told him over the phone in July 2004 that she was on the ICAC's witness protection programme, assisting an investigation into her employer.

He also said yesterday that he would not have hired Mr Egan to pay a legal visit to the Independent Commission Against Corruption to look for Ms Wong, secretary to Semtech International Holdings chairman Derek Wong Chong-kwong, had he known that she was assisting the anti-graft body.

'I feel very, very upset for such a thing being done to Mr Egan. I wanted to die,' Mr Chung said under cross-examination by Lawrence Lok Ying-kam SC, defence counsel for Derek Wong.

Mr Chung said he went berserk when he read Ms Wong's affirmation after Derek Wong's lover, Mandy Chui Man-si, hired him and Mr Egan to launch a habeas corpus application on behalf of the secretary. In her affirmation, Ms Wong said she did not know Mr Chung before speaking to him on the phone in July 2004.

In his affirmation, Mr Chung said he had previously met the secretary in connection with a non-criminal matter. He had earlier told the court that Ms Wong, who called him at about 1am on July 14, said she wanted to escape the 'evil claws of the ICAC'.

Egan, 58, solicitor Andrew Lam Ping-cheung, 53, Derek Wong, 37, and Chui, 25 - accused of launching a campaign to force the ICAC to release the secretary to stop her giving evidence against the Semtech chairman - have denied conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Chui has denied a charge of perjury, while the two lawyers also deny charges in relation to disclosure of information about Ms Wong's identity to the press.

Mr Chung admitted that a diary entry he had made under the date July 11, 2004 - which claimed he had known Ms Wong - was a lie he wrote about five days after the date. In the entry, he said: 'In fact, I could not recall that actually Becky did ask me to issue a demand letter in late June through the introduction made by Mandy Chui ...'

Nicholas Adams, counsel for Chui, asked him: 'Did you write that entry to fool the ICAC in case they made enquiries?' Mr Chung replied: 'I wrote it for myself.'

The hearing continues today.