Brian Kan guilty of election bribe
Racing legend Brian Kan Ping-chee was found guilty yesterday of offering a HK$130,000 election bribe to a village representative.
The former champion trainer, 73, left 130 HK$1,000 banknotes in the shop of Sheung Shui village representative Liu Fu-sau as an inducement for Liu to vote for him in an election for the Sheung Shui Rural District Committee in March.
Kan, who had denied engaging in corrupt conduct at an election, appeared calm when Magistrate Symon Wong Yu-wing delivered his verdict.
He was remanded in custody until sentencing next month.
Fanling Court heard Kan left the pile of banknotes in a room of the convenience store in Po Sheung Tsuen used for mahjong on February 27. Liu tried to tell Kan to take back the money but Kan had left. Liu and his wife, Lee Sau-hing, counted the banknotes and Liu later handed them to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
An investigation was launched, leading to Kan's arrest after the election.
Police detected only one fingerprint on the notes and three fingerprint experts argued whether that was enough to support the prosecution's case.
But Wong said in his verdict that the absence of fingerprints did not prove that Liu, Lee and Kan had not touched the banknotes and that he considered Liu an 'honest and reliable witness'.
'The money was not placed in the room by any other person. It was not from gambling activities and was not for the running costs of the temple,' he said.
'Kan left the HK$130,000 in the mahjong room and told Liu in person to accept the bribery.'
Kan, a powerful figure in the New Territories, received 16 votes in the election, losing to Bowie Hau Chi-keung, who got 44.
The son of a farmer, Kan was born in Tsung Pak Long village and went to Britain in his 20s, where he worked in a Chinese restaurant and learned to train horses in his free time.
He joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club when he returned in 1969. He was champion trainer five times and also trained five Hong Kong Derby winners.
He was an outspoken opponent of efforts to win inheritance rights for women in the New Territories in the 1990s. He also fervently opposed a conservation area for birds in Long Valley in 2001. He was convicted of indecently assaulting his maid in 1998.
Defence counsel Lawrence Lok SC said Kan was a successful horse trainer who was a 'role model for his children'.
He had contributed to the community when he was a district councillor and was active in charity work, Lok said. His also had donated money to the mainland to build schools and libraries.
Lok said there was no evidence to show election bribery was increasing.
He hoped Kan would be punished by a fine or a suspended sentence, instead of an immediate jail term.