Ex-chairman 'intimidated into giving up shares by scary gangster'
A former chairman of a listed company was intimidated into surrendering millions of its shares in 2009 because a "scary" gangster had threatened the lives of him and his family, the High Court heard yesterday.
Hui Chi-ming testified that he feared Wong Chin-yik, 61, who was said to be a chief of a "Big Circle Gang" and a follower of Cheung Tze-keung, and was someone whom people would not want to tangle with.
Hui is a former committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and an honorary consul of Madagascar. He transferred 100 million shares of Sino Union Petroleum and Chemical International in March 2009.
Wong, Koon Wing-yee, 56, Ng Chi-keung, 71, Chan Kwai-nam, 62, and Shum Man-keung, 59, are jointly charged with two counts of conspiracy of blackmail and one of theft. Wong also faces one charge of blackmail and one of possessing arms at the time of committing blackmail.
Koon had blamed Hui for huge losses investing in the company's stocks and had demanded 100 million shares, the court heard earlier.
Hui said Wong and another man showed up at the reception hall of his office after he rejected Koon. "They were not dressed in a courteous way like they are today. They were dressed in a rather scary way," he said. "They were wearing thick necklaces and bracelets made of gold."
Wong wore a suit yesterday.
In a conference room, when Hui again refused to budge, the other man left and brought in seven or eight men who were clad like Wong.
Some of them had tattoos, Hui told the court. They moved their bags repeatedly, producing "metallic sounds" from within.
Wong gave Hui two days to consider, warning that he could have a "hard time" and be "fixed". Later, Koon and Ng told Hui that Wong was Cheung's follower and a leader of a certain "Big Circle Gang", and should not be messed with.
After Hui moved the shares, Koon apologised "sincerely" for the trouble. "Koon said that to show his sincerity, he would ask [Ng] to give me HK$1.5 million," Hui told the court.
When asked why he gave in, he said: "I felt my family and I were under a huge threat. Even now, I am still in fear."
He continued: "After that, I enjoyed some peace and quiet for a period of time."
But at the end of April that year, while on a business trip in Indonesia, Hui received a call from his secretary saying Koon had looked for him. Soon afterwards, Wong called him to ask for another 100 million shares. The trial continues today before Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson.