Car agent pleads guilty to HK$243,000 theft

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 February, 2013, 4:16am

A car importer has been convicted of one count of theft for failing to return more than HK$240,000 in tax to the son of a late tycoon who bought a luxurious sports car from Britain through him.

Chan King-wai, 34, formerly a self-employed car dealer, pleaded guilty in Eastern Court yesterday after he failed to return £20,000 (HK$243,000) in value-added tax to Sherwin Ming Tak-fung, son of late Charles Ming Ka-fook, last year.

Ming had bought an Aston Martin sports car from the parallel-import car trader in late 2011 for £200,000. The British brand is best-known for its appearance in James Bond films.

Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing said a custodial sentence was very likely for Chan, given the amount of money involved and the nature of the offence.

"[He] intentionally kept the money for his own purpose," he said "Even if it was temporarily, it was enough for the offence of theft to be completed."

The court heard that Chan admitted receiving the tax refund from Britain after the trade was completed in January last year. He then issued five cheques to Ming, but they all bounced.

Ming tried to contact Chan, who initially said he had no money and then went out of touch.

Barrister Dee Crebbin said Chan had suffered from a business failure and had no intention of stealing the money, a claim the magistrate rejected.

To, who initially wanted to remand Chan into custody, granted him bail after hearing that his parents were seriously ill.

The case was adjourned to February 20 pending a community service report.

He also ordered Chan to pay the money back to Ming through instalments.