Mak Chai-Kwong, born in 1950, began his civil service career in Hong Kong in 1976. He held a series of high-ranking government engineering jobs. Mak was appointed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as the Secretary for Development in July 2012, but was soon forced to resign when allegation surfaced that he was involved in a housing subsidy fraud more than 20 years ago. He was formally charged with cheating on government rent allowances in October 2012.
Former development minister Mak Chai-kwong appears in court
Former development minister Mak Chai-kwong and assistant highways director Tsang King-man appeared in court on Tuesday, asking for more time before they enter pleas on charges of cheating on government housing allowances.
Mak, 62, and Tsang, 57, face a joint charge of conspiracy to defraud the government out of HK$700,000 in the 1980s. Mak also faces two counts, and Tsang three, of using documents with intent to deceive the government.
The pair were originally required to enter pleas in District Court on Tuesday, but Tsang’s lawyers applied for a six-week adjournment, saying they needed time to examine more than 100 papers from the prosecution.
Judge Poon Siu-tung accepted their request and adjourned the case to December 18 for mention.
Both defendants had their bails extended to HK$50,000 each.
Yaddy Cheung, a lawyer representing Tsang, said he and his client needed time to read 104 documents, and they had so far finished inspecting 54 of them.
Mak and Tsang allegedly bought flats in the same block at City Garden, North Point, then rented each other’s homes and claimed a government housing allowance on the lease, a practice known as cross-leasing.
Graft-busters arrested the two couples on July 12, just 12 days after Mak took office in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s administration. He resigned that day, but Tsang remains assistant highways director.
Mak, a civil servant for 37 years before his retirement in 2010, was succeeded by Paul Chan Mo-po, who is being investigated for possible drink-driving and disobeying road markings.