Laundering charge housewife 'had no idea about HK$13 million account'

Her personal accounts showed transactions amounting to HK$13 million, court told

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 August, 2013, 9:04am

A housewife claimed that she had no idea why her personal bank account, which she used only for paying bills and school fees, showed transactions amounting to more than HK$13 million in four years, the District Court heard yesterday.

Kate Lai Yee-kum, 49, faces four counts of money laundering involving HK$12.99 million and £28,622 (HK$340,000) through four accounts between April 2006 and March 2010. Her husband, Shum Kin-wing, 51, was charged with three counts of laundering HK$14 million through two accounts over the same period.

Cheung Yiu-ting, 29, who is alleged to have deposited HK$400,000 into Shum's accounts in May 2008, faces one charge of money laundering.

All three deny the charges.

Prosecutor Susanna Ku Pui-fong told the court Shum and Lai ran a firm called Country Consultants and were the only shareholders and directors.

Country Consultants started business in 2006, and Shum and Lai declared incomes to the tax department of HK$130,000 and HK$120,000, respectively, in the first year. Between 2007 and 2009 the company reported it suffered losses.

But the firm's bank accounts and the couple's personal accounts showed multiple transactions. One of Shum's accounts showed 557 transactions, with deposits of more than HK$11.8 million and withdrawals of HK$11.67 million, Ku said.

Lai's personal account recorded more than 880 transactions, with deposits of HK$7.6 million and withdrawals of HK$7.5 million. The couple were arrested on October 11, 2011.

Under police caution, Lai said she used her two personal accounts to pay for family expenses and that her husband deposited money into her accounts from time to time, and that she had no idea about the transactions.

Lai's lawyer Wong Man-kit SC, told the court Lai was feeling unwell when she made the statement and was prevented from meeting her lawyer. He told the court the statement should be inadmissible.

The trial continues today.