ICAC attacked for laying fresh charges against Lily Chiang

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am

Graft-busters were accused yesterday of acting improperly after they laid further fraud charges against high-profile businesswoman Lily Chiang Lai-lei, over the objections of the defence.

Chiang, 46, the first woman to chair the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, took a leave of absence from the post in January after the Independent Commission Against Corruption alleged she was involved in a HK$7.5 million share-option fraud.

Already on HK$1 million bail on the earlier charges, she now faces two extra counts over the listing of a brokerage company that she founded.

Chiang and Pau Kwok-ping, 54, former chief executive of Eco-Tek Holdings, were accused in Eastern Court yesterday of conspiring to defraud the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong by falsely representing share interests in the listing of the company in 2001 and of authorising the issue of a prospectus containing an untrue statement in November 2001.

Defence barrister Hectar Pun Hei opposed the laying of these charges, saying Chiang had been informed about them only last Friday.

He said they were related to entirely different matters from the earlier ones and Chiang had not been interviewed over the new allegations.

'It is improper for the ICAC to place additional charges without giving her the chance to explain,' Mr Pun said in court. He asked for the case to be heard in the High Court, with a jury.

Chiang was not required to enter a plea on any charges yesterday pending further legal advice from the prosecution. Pau also did not enter a plea.

Chiang, Pau and her co-defendant in the other charges, Shah Tahir Hussain, 45, are all on HK$1 million bail to March 25 for another hearing.

Chiang, as former chairman of Pacific Challenge Holdings, was earlier charged with former executive director Shah with conspiracy to defraud and with making two false statements over the granting of share options to employees of that company in 2002.