'Alleged victim threatened to ruin me'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 4:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2014, 4:46am

A blackmail defendant has hit back at his alleged victim, saying the latter threatened to ruin him and have him "detained" on the mainland, the High Court heard yesterday.

Businessman Koon Wing-yee said Hui Chi-ming, then chairman of a listed company, went back on his word to give him 200 million shares and then threatened him.

Koon, 57, is charged with teaming up with four others to extort the shares from Hui, the former chairman of Hong Kong-listed Sino Union Petroleum and Chemical International (Sunpec).

Yesterday, Koon took the stand for the second day to fight charges of blackmail and theft.

He told the court that in December 2007, Hui promised to give him an extra 250 million Sunpec shares as an incentive if he bought HK$200 million worth of the shares.

But up until April 2009, 200 million of the promised extra shares remained outstanding, Koon said.

At meeting on April 29 that year, Hui told Koon that he would not fulfil the commitment after all, because a planned share-placement deal with Henderson Land Development's chairman Lee Shau-kee had fallen through.

"Deep in my heart, I had the feeling that he was using an excuse," Koon told the court.

At that point he challenged Hui, he added, saying the failed deal with Lee could not be the reason he reneged on his word.

Hui then became angry and banged on the table, Koon said. Hui allegedly told him: "If you are so dissatisfied, I can detain you on the mainland and cause you to lose everything."

Hui also expressed doubts as to whether Koon had really spent HK$200 million on Sunpec shares, the court heard.

He suggested that if Koon could push up the share price, he would give Koon 50 million shares. Koon felt that was a different matter all together and refused to accept the idea, the court heard. The pair argued for about an hour without reaching any agreement. Koon insisted in his testimony that he had never extorted shares from Hui.

He will continue testifying before Deputy Judge Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson today.

Koon, ex-chairman of listed Easyknit Group, is charged along with Ng Chi-keung, 71, Wong Chin-yik, 61, Shum Man-keung, 59, and Chan Kwai-nam, 62, with two counts of conspiracy to blackmail and one of theft. Wong also faces a charge of blackmail and one of possessing arms while committing blackmail.