Businessman 'threatened to throw company chairman to sharks in extortion bid'
A businessman ganged up with thugs and threatened to take the chairman of a listed company out to the high seas and throw him to the sharks in order to extort millions of shares from him, a court heard yesterday.
Koon Wing-yee, 56, former chairman of the listed Easyknit Group, targeted Hui Chi-ming, then chairman of Sino Union Petroleum and Chemical International, accusing Hui's company of causing him market losses, the Court of First Instance heard.
According to prosecutor Audrey Campbell-Moffat SC, Koon allegedly told Hui in March 2009: "I have lost so much money from your company.
"I want you to give me 100 million shares because I lost money buying your shares."
After Hui surrendered the shares, the gang jacked up the demand to 300 million shares, the court heard.
Koon, along with Ng Chi-keung, 71, Wong Chin-yik, 61, Chan Kwai-nam, 62, and Shum Man-keung, 59, are jointly charged with two counts of conspiracy of blackmail and one count of theft. Wong also faces one charge of blackmail and one of possessing arms at the time of committing blackmail.
In the March 2009 confrontation, Hui initially refused to accede to Koon's request. Koon left Hui's office - but a group of seven or eight men then turned up, shouting and threatening to set the place on fire.
Wong, who was among the group, told Hui he had a triad background and gave him three days to consider their demand.
Hui later gave in, on condition that the shares would not be sold within three months. But the shares were sold at a much lower price the next day.
A few weeks later, Koon, Ng and Wong asked Hui for another 100 million shares and "threatened to throw him into the high seas to feed the sharks," Campbell-Moffat said. On May 10, 2009, Wong showed Hui a pistol-like object in his jacket and demanded 300 million shares.
The case continues today.