Carson Yeung says styling and stocks made his fortune
Soccer club boss tells court that he earned his wealth through investments in hi-tech shares, property and his salons - not illegal means
Birmingham City Football Club boss Carson Yeung Ka-sing explained in court how he amassed wealth of up to HK$100 million in 2000 from running upmarket salons, property investments in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, and stock dealings.
This was despite a substantial loss in the 1998 market collapse.
The 53-year-old businessman took the stand yesterday after a District Court judge had earlier granted his "unusual" request to reopen his closed defence case.
He denies the five charges of knowingly dealing in ill-gotten gains amounting to HK$721 million from January 2001 to December 2007.
Yeung, whose defence team saw a new member with the addition of barrister Kevin Egan, told the court that his net worth jumped from HK$10 million after a market crash in 1998 to HK$100 million in 2000.
"My loss [in the market crash] was about 70 per cent or more [of my net worth]," he said. "We are talking about a sum of HK$20 million."
In 1999, Yeung set up the Bull and Bear research company to look into the stock market. He said: "[The company] lets me have a deeper understanding of the stock market."
Telling the court how he managed to recover from the fall, Yeung said he did not sell his assets and shares at the time. And he said he made a living by trading stocks after he got back on his feet.
At the beginning of 1999 he was particularly interested in hi-tech and internet stocks.
Earlier, in the evidence stage, the court heard that the "penny stocks" in which Yeung invested were Cedar Base Electronic (Group), Hycomm Wireless, Greater China Sci-Tech, China United Holdings and Can Do Holdings.
"In 1999 and 2000, the daily average for deals was around HK$2 million," Yeung said.
He said he "traded more and traded with margins" after making a HK$15 million profit on a Fanling property project in 1997.
The court heard that Yeung's keen interest in share trading started at the early age of 18, when he was still an apprentice earning HK$10,000 a month.
"In 1978, I was trading in the range of HK$80,000 to HK$100,000," he said. "[The volume of trade was] very modest."
The soccer club boss rejected his own accounting expert's claim in the reports that he operated "as many as" 44 trading accounts at a time.
"Probably not as many," he said. "It should be around 35."
Asked by leading defence counsel Graham Harris SC why it was necessary to operate so many accounts, Yeung said: "Actually some of the stocks, or many of them, were recommended by the brokers."
Meanwhile, the court heard that the years he worked as an apprentice hairdresser in London and Paris, and with an upmarket salon in Central, earned Yeung his first HK$4 million.
He used that to open his first salon Vole at the Royal Pacific Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1989. He later opened a branch at The Peninsula hotel and said he was "very famous" in hairdressing circles when his businesses were in their heyday.
He continues testifying today on cash flow in his five bank accounts during the charge period.