Horse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee loses appeal on jail term

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 November, 2012, 3:30am

Five-time champion horse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee was ordered yesterday to serve a 14-week jail sentence after his appeal against his conviction for election corruption was rejected.

Kan, 75, who was on bail, must start serving his jail term immediately after Mr Justice Derek Pang Wai-cheong, of the Court of First Instance, refused another bail application.

Defence lawyers indicated that they intended to take the case to the Court of Final Appeal. Kan must file an appeal in 28 days.

As Kan's first appeal has been quashed, the prosecution will argue the sentence is too lenient and ask for a longer jail term.

The former racehorse trainer was convicted in November last year on one count of engaging in corrupt conduct during an election.

He was found to have offered HK$130,000 to village representative Liu Fu-sau in February that year to vote for him in the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee executive committee ballot the following month.

Kan had spent about a month in custody before he was released on bail pending appeal.

In the appeal, defence lawyers had argued that, in the initial trial, Magistrate Symon Wong Yu-wing had failed to consider fingerprint evidence challenging the claim that Kan had offered money to Liu.

Pang ruled yesterday that although Wong's original verdict was "simplistic" and barely met judicial standards, the conclusion was not flawed. He also concluded that fingerprint evidence on banknotes, submitted by Kan's forensic expert was of "limited value".

Kan's lawyers had also suggested that although evidence showed he had asked Liu for support in the election, it did not necessarily mean something illegal had taken place.

The judge dismissed it as a "tenuous suggestion". He said: "If the defendant did give the money to the [complainant], I can't see why it was not for buying votes."

Pang also ruled that Liu was a credible witness and could not have made a false accusation against the defendant.

Kan, a powerful figure in the New Territories, lost the election with 16 votes to Bowie Hau Chi-keung's 44 votes. Kan went to Britain in his 20s and joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club after returning in 1969. He went on to become a champion trainer with five Hong Kong Derby winners.

An outspoken critic, he opposed efforts to grant inheritance rights to women in the New Territories in the 1990s, and was also against setting up a bird conservation area in the Long Valley wetlands in Sheung Shui in 2001.