'Police files' in fraud case were forged, court told

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 March, 2011, 12:00am

Documents that appeared to discredit a prosecution witness in businesswoman Lily Chiang Lai-lei's fraud trial were forged, a court heard yesterday.

Prosecutor Simon Westbrook SC said while the three police reports raised in court on Thursday suggested that witness Yip Yuk-chun had been twice caught with a suspected drug, the case numbers concerned incidents unrelated to her.

Ex-General Chamber of Commerce chairman Chiang, 49, Tahir Hussain Shah, 45, and former chief executive of Eco-Tek Holdings, Pau Kwok-ping, 54, are on trial in the District Court on fraud charges.

Yip, who was Chiang's personal assistant for 15 years, testified earlier in the trial.

Shah's counsel Kevin Egan told the court on Thursday his client had received police reports from an unknown person. He said the documents, which he believed were genuine, might give rise to a mistrial or a permanent stay of proceedings.

Yesterday Westbrook suggested the defence team apologise for alleging Yip had lied in the witness box about her arrests, and that an officer from the Independent Commission Against Corruption had interfered with the police investigation.

Speaking after Westbrook's submission, Egan, accepting his comments, described the documents as a hoax. 'We want to lay to rest any suggestion of a cover up,' he said.

Westbrook said the fake documents bore 'superficial resemblance' to real ones.

In one of the reports, Yip was said to have been a victim of a robbery in Diamond Hill after which her bag was found to contain a suspected dangerous drug. The real report with the same number also concerned a robbery in Diamond Hill, but the victim was not Yip, and there was no mention of drugs.

Also, 'VTM', the abbreviation for victim, was misspelled 'WTM' in the report, Westbrook said. 'Somebody ... a malicious person can't spell very well when typing these things up.'

Westbrook said Yip's only arrest was in connection with the present case.

Meanwhile, Chiang (pictured), who denied five charges of fraud and making false statements, said she transferred shares of her companies to her co-workers so they could share the 'fruits' of the firms' success.

The prosecution alleges Chiang pocketed more than HK$3.7 million by instructing others to hold options or shares of two listed companies on her behalf, contrary to listing rules.

In January 2001, Chiang allotted shares of Eco-Tek - a company she set up in 1999 - to Shah and Pau, the court heard. In November 2001, Chiang again allotted shares to the two co-accused and Yip.

'[It was] to show my gratitude to them for developing Eco-Tek together,' she said.

Chiang denied that giving shares to Yip was for show and that she had intended to hold the shares beneficially, as alleged by the prosecution.

The court heard that Eco-Tek won a tender by the Environmental Protection Department in 2000 to fit Eco-Trap carbon filters for exhaust pipes on eligible vehicles.

Chiang also testified that Eco-Tek had a licence deal with Advanced New Technology, a commercial limb of the Polytechnic University, in which it would pay HK$3 million to the university as it owned the rights of Eco-Trap.