Carson Yeung cleared to fly to Britain
Patsy Moy and Peter Simpson in Birmingham
Tycoon Carson Yeung Ka-sing has been permitted to fly to Britain for four days next month to manage his troubled English League Championship soccer club Birmingham City after his cash bail was doubled from HK$4 million to HK$8 million.
Yeung, 51, facing five counts of money laundering involving HK$720 million, was earlier denied leave to travel and his application yesterday was opposed by senior public prosecutor Anthony Chau Tin-hang.
But District Court judge Stanley Chan Kwong-chi allowed the trip after hearing from defence counsel Clive Grossman SC that it was 'absolutely necessary' that Yeung speak to club players and management.
Yeung's HK$3 million surety remains unchanged but he has to provide his itinerary and address in Britain during his four-day stay between September 15 and 19.
September 15 is the day his team takes on Portuguese side Braga in the Europa League but it was not clear whether he would attend.
The club would not comment officially last night. But worried and angry supporters are promising the businessman a fraught reception.
'He can expected a lot of us demanding answers, such as are we financially OK,' said Andy Webb, who heads a fans' group, Small Heath Alliance, named after the Blues' original name. 'We expect him to do some press conferences and calm nerves. If he attends a match he can expect a lot of angry supporters voicing their opinions.'
The case is set for a pre-trial review on December 7 before going ahead some time in February.
Yesterday, Chau said the trial was expected to take 10 days with the prosecution calling 10 witnesses including a banker and a forensic accountant. It would take about three months to prepare bank documents.
Yeung must inform Hong Kong police before his departure and after his return will resume his bail conditions, including surrendering his travel documents and reporting to police every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
The judge had suggested Yeung could conduct meetings with the club via teleconference. But Grossman said that as club chairman and president he had to 'see so many people at different times. All these things cannot be done here'.
The amount, in Hong Kong dollars, involved in the five counts of money laundering facing Carson Yeung