Executive at HK hub for business jets 'has no memory' of rendition flight

Hongkonger listed in classified files as key part of scheme that a Libyan says led to his torture

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 3:08am

A senior executive with extensive operational knowledge of Hong Kong's private-jet hub says she cannot remember what happened in March 2004 when the centre is believed to have played a key role in the secret rendition of a dissident into the hands of late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi's torturers.

Madonna Fung, general manager of the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre at Chek Lap Kok, was customer services manager of the centre in 2004. She is listed in classified documents found in the offices of Gaddafi's intelligence chief, Moussa Koussa, when rebels stormed the leader's compound in August of last year.

Fung's name was provided as a key contact to ensure the secret rendition would go ahead as quickly and quietly as possible, taking Sami al-Saadi - a Libyan dissident suspected of terrorism - and his family back to Tripoli, where torture was routine.

The documents, seen by the Sunday Morning Post, reveal for the first time details of how the secret flight was carried out and raise wider questions over Hong Kong's role in renditions.

Saadi, also known as Abu Munthir, claims that on March 27, 2004, a privately chartered plane took him, his wife and four young children from Hong Kong to Libya via Bangkok, undoing his decades-long efforts to escape the grip of Gaddafi's henchmen.

The Hong Kong Airport Authority has confirmed that an Egypt Air Boeing 777-200 arrived at Chek Lap Kok at 8.07pm and departed at 9.40pm.

Fung declined to be interviewed yesterday and through a spokeswoman said she "has little recollection of what happened as far back as 2004 or whether she was in fact on duty on that particular day".

The spokeswoman also refused to provide details about the flight, saying that "the matters you asked about are confidential records" and "not available for disclosure".

Lawyers acting for Saadi in Hong Kong are preparing to sue the government for its complicity in the alleged rendition and for conspiring with American, British and Libyan spies.

The legal team has requested information from the Airport Authority and the business-aviation centre, but key documents appear to have been destroyed.

The centre is majority owned by Hong Kong Business Aviation Holding, whose directors include Michael Kadoorie. Sun Hung Kai Properties owns 35 per cent.