Disgraced queen of commerce tight-lipped as she walks free on parole

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 March, 2013, 5:12am

Jailed businesswoman Lily Chiang Lai-lei yesterday walked free on parole, tight-lipped about the chances of her winning an appeal against her conviction over a HK$3 million share-option scam.

Chiang, who was in a green blazer over a black outfit and carrying a blue bag, was escorted by two officers to the gate of the Lo Wu Correctional Institution at about 9.10am.

Accosted by more than 20 journalists, some of whom had waited outside the gate since dawn, she refused to respond to questions from the media - including "How do you feel now?", "Do you think you're innocent?" and "Are you confident about your appeal?".

She was guided by her husband, Polytechnic University professor Dr Gino Yu, to a silver seven-seater Toyota, which took them straight to their home in Hong Lok Yuen, Tai Po.

The former Pacific Challenge Holdings chairwoman had her hair tied neatly in a ponytail. She wore a surgical mask, but walked spiritedly and looked healthy.

Chiang, 51, who is the fourth daughter of industrialist Chiang Chen and the first woman to chair the General Chamber of Commerce, had served 21 months of a 3-1/2-year sentence for fraud, conspiracy to defraud and authorising a prospectus that included an untrue statement.

In her appeal, she claimed that the trial judge made a fundamental flaw in the fact-finding exercise. The Court of Appeal reserved its judgment on Thursday.

Chiang had told the South China Morning Post before she was jailed in June 2011 that she had planned an appeal even before the judgment was made. "Of course I will appeal, because I am innocent," she said.

Lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan, vice-chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, refused to say how her sister was feeling.