Ruling against Easyknit boss

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 May, 2011, 12:00am

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Easyknit International chief executive Jimmy Kwong Cheung-tim lost a bid to disassociate himself from a case brought against the founder of the Hong Kong-listed garment trader and property developer that involves allegations of blackmail, money laundering and use of triad heavies.

Sino Union Petroleum and Chemical former chairman Hui Chi-ming has alleged in court filings that Matthew Koon Wing-yee, Easyknit's founder and chairman until 2006, extorted 100 million Sino shares from him with a triad who threatened to harm him and burn his office down.

In the same case, Hui also claims that Kwong helped Koon launder the Sino shares through Planetic, an Easyknit subsidiary. Easyknit has denied the claim.

Kwong was arrested by the Commercial Crime Bureau last year but was not prosecuted. Since then, he has been trying to remove himself from the list of six defendants in Hui's civil case against Koon, Wong Chin-yick - identified by the court as a triad member - and other associates.

Mr Justice Azizul Suffiad ruled in the High Court yesterday that even though Kwong was not prosecuted, Hui's allegation of 'his involvement in this matter has not changed'.

The former Sino boss' case against Koon - who stepped down from Easyknit after he was identified as an insider dealer by the Insider Dealing Tribunal and barred as a company director - contains allegations of coercion and intimidation.

Hui claims Koon arrived at his office uninvited in early 2009, complained he had lost money trading Sino stock and demanded 100 million shares as compensation, according to a reprisal of Hui's claims in yesterday's judgment. After Hui refused, he was visited by Wong, who 'identified himself as a triad member and made threats of burning down the plaintiff's office'.

According to Hui's allegations, Koon then returned to his office with Ng Chi-keung, the part owner of Cheer Union Securities, who is also a defendant in the civil case.

Koon, Hui claims, said that if the stock was not handed over, Wong and his gang 'would do something harmful' to Hui. 'It was also made clear to the plaintiff that if the 100 million shares were not handed over, the plaintiff would suffer grievous bodily harm or be killed,' according to Hui's allegations.

Hui transferred US$135 million in stock to Koon's associate, Chan Kwai-nam, who is also named as a defendant in the case.

The shares were then divided between Koon, Ng, Chan and Wong, Hui claims.