Two more ICAC officers accused of coaching witness

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 March, 2011, 12:00am

A former warrant trader accused of being part of a derivatives market manipulation racket has accused two more ICAC officers of coaching him on how to answer questions.

Cheung Ching-ho, 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 the alleged scam generated.

He was originally offered immunity from prosecution but later refused to testify and was charged with conspiracy to defraud. Cheung's lawyers are trying to get the proceedings stayed on the grounds that he will not get a fair trial.

Cheung has already accused three ICAC officers of coaching him to be a witness. They are facing charges of perverting the course of justice.

Yesterday, the ex-warrants trader told the District Court another two officers - identified as 'Lee sir' and 'Lai sir' - coached him before he gave answers in two video testimonies taken at the ICAC on May 28, 2008, the day he was arrested.

'Before the videotaping, they told me the questions they would be asking,' he said. 'They didn't teach me to say things in the middle of the video-taking, but before the video was switched on, they told me what to say ... what they wanted me to admit ... they taught me the general direction of my answers.'

But prosecuting counsel Joseph Tse denied Lee and Lai had talked about how to give answers in the testimony. 'It's not like Ben and Kevin, who sat down and went through specific details like horse gambling, identification of persons and how to explain your assets,' he said.

He was referring to Ben Chan Kai-hung and Kevin Cho Wing-nin, who, the court heard, were two of the three ICAC officers charged with intending to pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public office for allegedly coaching Cheung to give false evidence at trial on June 5, 2008.

The court heard earlier that Chan and Cho asked Cheung to tell the court he had lost his assets gambling on horses. Cheung told how Cho described the wife of scam mastermind Raymond Ng Chun-to so he could identify her in the dock. Cheung said the officers coached him to give false evidence in exchange for immunity.

Tse said Cheung did not make any accusations against Lee and Lai over the past three days when his defence lawyer, Andrew Bruce, guided him in answering questions.

'On 9 September 2010 when police invited you to their headquarters and accused the ICAC of teaching you how to say things ... you didn't make any accusations against [Lee and Lai] in the six-page Chinese testimony provided by you,' he said.

In cross-examination, Tse asked Cheung about a meeting with his lawyer in 2009. Bruce raised objections, citing legal professional privilege that protects all communication between a professional legal adviser and his client from being disclosed without the permission of the client.

The case was adjourned pending further reading of legal statutes.