Racehorse trainer Brian Kan to serve 14 weeks in jail

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 1:23pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 1:33pm

Former champion racehorse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee was ordered to serve a 14-week jail term on Friday after the High Court rejected his appeal against his conviction over election corruption.

Kan, 75, must immediately serve his jail term after Mr Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong, of the Court of First Instance, refused his bail application.

Kan’s lawyers intend to take to case to the Court of Final Appeal, where they have 28 days to file an appeal.

Kan, 75, was convicted last November of one count of engaging in corrupt conduct during an election - offering a HK$130,000 bribe to a village representative to vote for him. He denied the charge at his trial.

He later appealed against the verdict, saying trial Magistrate Symon Wong Yu-wing had failed to consider fingerprint evidence produced by the defence, which challenged the claim that Kan had offered money to Liu.

Judge Pang ruled on Friday that although Wong’s original verdict was “simplistic” and barely met the judicial standard, the conclusion was not flawed.

He also ruled that the evidence by Kan’s forensic expert, relating to finger marks on the banknotes, was of “limited value”. The judge accepted police forensic experts’ claims that the chance of detecting fingerprints on banknotes was slim. He also accepted that the village representative who raised the bribery allegation was a credible witness.

Kan’s lawyers had suggested that although evidence showed his client had asked Liu to support him in the election, it did not necessarily mean something illegal had taken place. But the judge dismissed that as a “tenuous suggestion”.

“If the defendant did give the money to the [complainant], I can’t see why it was not for buying votes,” the judge said.

Kan was taken to custody to start serving the sentence.

The offence took place last February, shortly before the election for the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee executive committee.

Village representative Liu Fu-sau testified that Kan left him 130 HK$1,000 banknotes during a visit to his convenience store and asked for his support in the election.

Kan, a powerful figure in the New Territories, lost the election last March 16 votes to 44, against Bowie Hau Chi-keung.

He joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club when he returned from living in Britain in 1969. He went on to become five-time champion trainer, with five Hong Kong Derby winners.

He was an outspoken opponent of efforts to win inheritance rights for women in the New Territories in the 1990s. He also fervently opposed a conservation area for birds in Long Valley in 2001. He was convicted of indecently assaulting his maid in 1998.