Woman acquitted in trial over cocaine haul
The wife of a man jailed for the city's biggest cocaine bust has been cleared of laundering dirty money linked to the drug world after a judge said it was reasonable for her to believe that the HK$8 million she was accused of cleaning came from her husband's gambling habit and real estate business.
Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong told District Court that it was reasonable for Hunan -born Ling Yuen-sheung, 37, to believe the money in her three accounts was not from crime.
Ling, who appeared relaxed before the verdict, left the court with a big smile. 'I am very happy,' she said.
The judge noted that her husband, Pang Yuet-wan, who is serving a 22-year prison term for storing 232kg of cocaine at home in Sha Tau Kok, often bragged about his large winnings from gambling.
A reasonable person would not necessarily doubt the money came from gambling and from Pang's work as a real-estate agent, Yau said. He found Ling and the two defence witnesses - Tai Po Tin villager Lai Hoi-shan and Yuet-wan's elder brother Pang Hok-lun - honest and reliable.
'[Ling's] evidence was consistent throughout,' the judge said. 'She knew from the beginning that Pang liked to gamble. After she had moved to Hong Kong, his habit had not changed.
'Lai's testimony makes [Ling's] even stronger and more reliable.'
Ling had faced three money-laundering charges involving HK$8.2 million deposited in her accounts in five years from 2005 in the Bank of China and Chong Hing Bank.
She had been married to Pang for more than a decade. Pang, 53, was Tai Po Tin chief before his conviction. His stock of cocaine at home had an estimated street value of HK$330 million. He was well known in his village for showing neighbours piles of cash he claimed to have won on horse races, the court was told earlier.