My message was changed, ex-lover says
An alleged blackmail victim said yesterday that a text message he sent to his dumped mistress had been changed before it was submitted to the court as evidence.
The accusation was made by a wealthy businessman, identified only as Mr X, yesterday, when he was recalled to the District Court to explain the text message allegedly sent by him to Ki Chun-yim, 39, after their relationship turned sour.
Ki is on trial on nine charges of blackmailing Mr X for a total of HK$139 million.
The message was read out in the court as: 'Please immediately accept tonight my proposal raised in Mandarin Oriental [Hotel] or I won't be able to handle it ... The matters relating to the chauffeur and swimming are no longer relevant ... For the provocation and calling the police, I don't want to go that far. But I don't want things to get out of control. What I said wasn't true.'
The message was forwarded by Ki to Mr X's business partner, identified only as Mr Y, the court heard.
Mr X said he briefly remembered the message he had sent to Ki. But the witness alleged some of the wording seemed to have changed.
'Provocation is such a difficult word in Chinese that I would not be able to text it, also it is a word I rarely use,' he said.
The witness also denied the suggestion by defence counsel Lawrence Lok SC, who claimed Mr X had proposed to hire a chauffeur for Ki and to secure her a membership with a private club. 'I simply tried to calm her down. In terms of the part about swimming, we had disputes when I was coaching her in the pool. We also had an argument over the issue of the chauffeur,' he said.
Mr X testified that his proposal mentioned in the message referred to an offer to Ki of HK$30,000 a month, which was the amount he said he was willing to offer all the way through their dispute.
After Mr X completed his evidence yesterday, District Judge Kevin Browne ruled that Ki had a case to answer.
The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow after Lok told the court that Ki needed to have a discussion with her family.
Meanwhile, Senior Public Prosecutor Virginia Lau Siu-yee lodged a complaint with the court yesterday against a Chinese-language newspaper that she said had drawn an inference about the identity of Mr X in a news report. The article dealt with financial news about Mr X's company and the businessman, and ran with his photograph.
On the first day of the trial on Wednesday last week, the court ordered the press not to disclose the identities of Mr X or Mr Y.
The judge yesterday directed the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the allegation about the news report.
The amount, in Hong Kong dollars, which Ki Chun-yim allegedly tried to extort from the wealthy businessman