Lily Chiang fails in final appeal bid against conviction in HK$3 million scam

Businesswoman jailed for HK$3m scam tells of her anger after plea for appeal dismissed

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 8:58am

Businesswoman Lily Chiang Lai-lei vented her frustration yesterday after judges denied her plea to appeal to the top court against a conviction over a HK$3 million share-option scam for which she was jailed for 3-1/2 years.

In the Court of Final Appeal yesterday, Chiang's lawyers failed to argue that her caseinvolved substantial and grave injustice and warranted a chance of appeal.

Chiang, the daughter of industrialist Chiang Chen and the first woman to chair the General Chamber of Commerce, was jailed in June 2011 for fraud, conspiracy to defraud and authorising a prospectus that included an untrue statement.

The 52-year-old, who was released on parole in March last year after spending 21 months in jail, did not respond to questions from the media outside court. But in a statement distributed by her lawyers, she said she felt "sad, angry and helpless" with the top court's decision.

"To cover up a mistake, the courts would not hesitate to make a greater mistake," she wrote.

"I had strongly believed that Hong Kong's judicial system was fair and just. That was why even in the most difficult days, I still held this belief," she added.

"That was the reason I went on to lodge the appeal even after I served the jail term, hoping I could eventually have my name cleared." Chiang said she was now completely disappointed with the inherent injustice in Hong Kong's judicial system, which, she added, she had discovered at huge personal cost.

"Hong Kong's judicial system lacks supervision by a third party," she said.

But she added that she would keep her head up and not be frustrated by her failure to seek justice in court.

She was found guilty of designing a scam in which others held options or shares in two listed companies on her behalf.

The options were said to have been rewards for senior officers at Chiang's companies, but the recipients were low-ranking staff, including Chiang's driver and personal assistant.

"We are not persuaded this is a case that ought to be referred to the Court of Final Appeal," Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro said as he dismissed her application for leave to appeal to the top court.

Written reasons for the decision, by a panel of three judges, will be handed down later.

Co-defendants Tahir Hussain Shah, 45, and Pau Kwok-ping, 54, who were jailed for two years and 17 months, respectively, also had their applications turned down.