Alleged blackmail victim denies using gangsters to get HK$5m 'tea money'

Alleged blackmail victim denies using triad-linked gangsters to enforce payment

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 4:27am

A listed company's former chairman, who claimed to have been blackmailed, was accused in court yesterday of taking two gangsters to a lunch to force a businessman to pay HK$5 million in "tea money".

Defence lawyer Gary Plowman SC, representing Koon Wing-yee, made the allegation while cross-examining alleged victim Hui Chi-ming.

Hui, former chairman of Hong Kong-listed Sino Union Petroleum and Chemical International (Sunpec), rejected all the allegations, saying of Plowman: "I think he could change his profession to be a scriptwriter."

The lawyer alleged that Hui took one man with a Taiwan triad background and another called "Shanghai Boy" to a lunch meeting with Koon, 56, in March 2009.

Plowman said Hui told Koon that if he refused to pay the "tea money", Koon would not be able to receive 100 million shares Koon had purchased. Hui in the end agreed to accept HK$1.5 million.

The lawyer also said that although it was Hui accusing Koon and four other men of blackmailing him for hundreds of millions of shares, it had been Hui who arranged for a group of men dressed in black to sit next to Koon's table to enforce the "tea money" demand.

Hui said one of the men who accompanied him to the restaurant that day was a director of his company.

He said he was "scared to his guts" after being blackmailed for the 100 million shares by Koon and his gang earlier that month and was lucky enough to have the director to accompany him all the time.

Another defendant, Ng Chi-keung, 72, had initiated the meeting as Ng claimed Koon had felt sorry for offending Hui by extorting the shares, Hui said.

Koon later gave him the HK$1.5 million and asked for his forgiveness, he said.

Hui added that he did not know defendant Wong Chin-yik, 61, or "Shanghai Boy" before March 2009.

He only came to know them when Wong rushed to his office to demand the shares from him a few days before the lunch meeting.

About 20 minutes after Wong left, "Shanghai Boy" had appeared in his office and claimed he could help Hui to mitigate with Wong.

"I came to know Wong and the 'Shanghai Boy' on the same day," Hui said. "It was all arranged by Koon from behind [the scenes]," he said.

Koon, Ng, Wong, Shum Man-keung, 59, and Chan Kwai-nam, 62, are jointly charged with two counts of conspiracy to blackmail and one of theft.

Wong also faces a charge of blackmail and one of possessing arms at the time of committing blackmail.

The trial continues before Deputy Judge Clare Marie Beeson today.