Judges who advised on embezzlement named

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 February, 2012, 12:00am

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A court yesterday named the senior judges who advised a retired head of surgery at the University of Hong Kong he could decide whether or not to report to police the embezzlement of HK$2.7 million from a trust fund.

District Court Judge Susana D'Almada Remedios released the names of retired judges Benjamin Liu Tsz-ming and the late Arthur Leong Shiu-chung after a prosecution application.

Defendant John Wong, 71, said earlier that they told him it was up to him whether to report the matter involving clerk June Chan Sau-hung.

Prosecution counsel Wong Man-kit SC told the court yesterday: 'The Director of Public Prosecutions suggested this [application] for the purposes of open justice.'

D'Almada Remedios sealed the retired judges' names on Monday at the request of John Wong, who gave her the names on a piece of paper.

The defence did not object to the application, but Graham Harris SC, acting for John Wong, reiterated that they had intended not to disclose the identity of the judges in good faith to avoid any possible embarrassment.

Leong was chief judge of the High Court in 2001 before he retired in 2003. He died in August 2010. Liu was a Court of Appeal judge before he retired and wrote a book about Hong Kong triad societies before and after the handover.

John Wong said they gave him advice in 2007 over Chan, whom he found had embezzled HK$2.67 million from a trust fund. Wong, who was the fund's trustee, is accused of covering up the embezzlement and of using department funds to pay a domestic helper. He denies two counts of misconduct in public office and two of false accounting. He is also accused of failing to pay HK$124,314 in taxes by using fake overseas travel invoices under the firm, Unisurgical, which he set up to operate the Skills Development Centre.

Wong earlier said he signed cheques for the travel expenses invoices and helper's salary, which his secretary prepared for him.

Wong maintained in court yesterday that he decided not to report the embezzlement to police as he knew Chan had to care for her niece, whose parents were among 14 holidaymakers killed in a tour bus crash in Egypt at the Lunar New Year in 2006. He did not know Chan's sister had been caring for the niece.

The trial continues today.

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The number of months' jail to which June Chan Sau-hung was sentenced over the embezzlement. She is appealing