Surgeon charged in scam goes free

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 March, 2012, 12:00am


A surgeon charged over a Hong Kong Jockey Club membership scam walked free yesterday and will testify against one of the nine co-accused in the 2009 fraud, the District Court heard.

David Ho Wai-tak, a 69-year-old surgeon, horse owner and a voting Jockey Club member, was spared prosecution on one count of conspiracy to defraud, but his charge will remain on the court file.

Two other defendants, Ho Wai-shek and Dipo Chandiram Sani, a well-known member of the Indian community, also walked free after no evidence was presented against them.

Cheng Huan, SC, representing David Ho, said his client had given a non-prejudicial statement to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and would testify against 63-year-old To Wing, if necessary.

Ho's wife, Doris Ho Ko Suet-yiu, is a former secretary for health and welfare and his daughter Johanna Ho Chi-yan is a fashion designer.

Ho Wai-shek, and Dipo were accused of conspiring in 2010 with members Robert Ng Ka-ki - also known as Robert Woo - John Douglas Mackie and Tong Kam-pui to defraud the club by falsely claiming they personally knew Daniel Fung Yiu-man in a membership form.

Fung was an undercover officer with the ICAC, posing as the boss of a red wine trader.

Robert Woo, 56, a merchant and full club member, pleaded guilty to one count of an agent accepting an advantage in July 2010, and one of aiding and abetting an agent accepting an advantage in September 2009. Three other charges of conspiracy to defraud were left on the court file.

Two non-members will face trial on Monday. Clerk Alan Lam Wai-chee, 59, pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting an agent to accept an advantage. Construction worker Billy Tang Kang-chung, 49, denied three counts of money laundering.

Adrian Bell SC, for the prosecution, said Woo became acquainted with Michael Fong, another undercover ICAC officer, and Fung, through Tang's introduction. Woo said he could arrange for Mackie and other members to sponsor Fung's racing application for HK$250,000. Woo then falsely claimed in the application that he had known Fung for 17 years.

The court heard that a racing membership application needed the confirmation of two voting members and three supporting members.

The court also heard that in September 2009, Woo accepted HK$300,000 from Lam Wai-ming for providing similar assistance.

District Court Judge Joseph Yau Chi-lap remanded Woo in custody until March 16 for sentencing.

Defendant Tong, a merchant who pleaded guilty last November, applied yesterday to reverse his plea. His application will be heard on March 22.

Mackie, 82, and Stanley Lawrence Freedman, 83, claimed they were 'mentally and physically' unfit to stand trial. Hearings to present their medical reports will be heard in June.

The court will decide today when To will face trial.