Ex-minister Mak Chai-kwong's flat buyer says she never met him
Woman did not see Mak Chai-kwong or his wife when she bought their flat, court hears
The buyer of a North Point flat under the names of former development minister Mak Chai-kwong and his wife did not see the couple throughout the buying process, a court has heard.
Agnes Hai Chui-kuen told the District Court yesterday she did not meet Mak and his wife Wong Lai-king all along, from viewing the property to signing the sales and purchase agreement.
When she viewed flat 21E in City Garden's block 9 with property agent Chan Kwong-ming in 1990, it was a man called "Mr Tsang" who opened the door for them, Hai said.
Assistant highways director Tsang King-man, 57, and Mak, 62, are accused of defrauding the government of HK$700,000 in housing allowances through use of two properties in which they had a financial interest. Mak also faces two counts, and Tsang three, of using documents with intent to deceive the government. They deny the charges.
Tsang claimed he had leased flat 21E from Mak's wife at the time. Mak bought the unit in 1985 while Tsang bought flat 22E one floor above. In 1986, they cross-leased their flats.
Hai told the court she and her husband at the time wanted a flat that would be vacant upon completion of the deal as they intended to occupy it themselves. No one had told her flat 22E was also for sale, she said.
The court earlier heard that Tsang had proposed swapping homes with Mak because he found it easier to sell a flat without any tenancy agreement. Flat 22E had been occupied by a tenant at the time. The flat was later sold in 1992.
Meanwhile, Janet Wang Kin-yuk, law firm Lawrence Ong & Chung's executive clerk, said the file with all the legal documents related to flat 22E's transaction was shredded in June 2011. It was company policy to destroy files more than 20 years old, she said.
Asked why the file - which was closed in 1993 and hence less than 20 years old at the time - was shredded, Wang said it was because of insufficient storage space in the firm's warehouse.
The court earlier heard that Tsang had instructed the firm's solicitor, Lai Sai-on, to prepare a declaration trust to declare the duo's interests in the properties. But Lai denied drawing up the document.