Former Exco member Barry Cheung suing Allen Lee for libel

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 7:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 June, 2013, 7:49pm

Embattled former Executive Councillor Barry Cheung Chun-yuen is suing veteran politician Allen Lee Peng-fei for libel in court, saying Lee’s claim that he borrowed HK$70 million from a developer at a low interest rate was false.

In a writ filed to the High Court on Thursday, Cheung said the claim made by Lee in an RTHK television programme on May 23 seriously hurt his reputation. He demanded Lee stop repeating the claim and pay him compensation.

Lee, who is former Exco member as well as deputy to the National People’s Congress, said in the programme that he ‘‘heard that a big developer had watched over Cheung ... Cheung was lent HK$70 million [at an interest rate of] 1 per cent per annum.’’

Cheung quit the Exco, the government’s top advisory body, in late May as part of a blanket resignation covering all his public posts after being invited by police to assist their investigation into the failed Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange chaired by him.

The HKMEx surrendered its trading licence after it was found it did not maintain sufficient capital. Seven people have been arrested for allegedly using false instruments during the police investigation into the commodity trader.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Cyberport Management, which manages the HKMEx’s office at Cyberport, is suing the exchange over an alleged HK$6.7million of rent payments in arrear.

In a writ to the High Court, Cyberport Management said its tenant had paid about HK$1 million by June, but still owed about HK$7 million in rents and other fees to the company.

The company is asking for a vacant possession order and for repayment of the debt.