ICAC officers in court for coaching false evidence

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 March, 2011, 12:00am

A man accused of manipulating the derivatives market with others alleged that graft-busters coached him to give false evidence in court in exchange for immunity as he tried to have his case halted forever.

Meanwhile, the three ICAC officers accused of perverting the course of public justice for coaching the man, Cheung Ching-ho, were charged in Eastern Court yesterday.

Cheung, 39, was among five people arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2008 for trying to manipulate the derivatives market and laundering more than HK$100 million.

He was originally offered immunity from prosecution, but later refused to testify and was charged with conspiracy to defraud. Raymond Ng Chun-to, the mastermind of the fraudulent scheme, was jailed for four years in April last year.

In District Court, Cheung's lawyers are trying to stay proceedings on the grounds that he would not have a fair trial. Cheung earlier presented in court a secret recording of six hours of conversations between him and ICAC officers.

He alleged chief investigator Cho Wing-nin, 46, senior investigator Chan Kai-hung, 36, and assistant investigator Au Kim-fung, 42, coached him to give false evidence in the trial in which Ng was jailed.

The three officers were charged with intending to pervert the course of public justice and misconduct in public office yesterday.

They were accused of inducing Cheung, between November 3 and December 4, 2009, to give false evidence in a criminal trial. They also allegedly supplied information from statements taken from other witnesses to enhance his credibility.

They allegedly ignored ICAC guidelines and suggested Cheung read his statements during trial.

They did not enter pleas and were released on HK$5,000 bail. The case was adjourned to December 4, when it will transfer to District Court.

Testifying in court yesterday, Cheung said that after he said he was unable to identify a defendant in the earlier trial, the ICAC officers provided him with information about the appearance of the defendants.

The officers also allegedly taught him how to answer questions raised by lawyers and how to give false information that would enhance his credibility before the judge.

The court also heard that the officers asked Cheung to tell the court that he had lost his assets through betting on horses.

Cheung said: '[Chief investigator Cho] said I had to tell the court that I placed bets by cash.'

They asked him not to tell the court that the ICAC had promised to grant him immunity before statements had been taken from him.

He said Cho said to him, when Cheung told him that he could not identify in the dock the wife of mastermind Ng, that she was the 'very fat' woman.

Cheung said that although Cho had told him that he was not allowed to refer to his statements after he started giving evidence in court, he also told him that no one would know if he 'inadvertently' read copies.

The court heard that Cho had taught Cheung that when he was asked whether he had discussed his evidence with ICAC officers he should say he had not.

Cheung earlier told the court that the officers told him on the night of his arrest that he could hire a lawyer to represent him, but warned that if he did, their agreement for giving him immunity would be cancelled.

The court heard earlier that Cheung was later asked to sign a declaration giving up his right to be represented by a lawyer.

The hearing continues before Judge Garry Tallentire.