Asylum plea in Australia extradition case

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 4:32am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 March, 2014, 4:32am

A businessman who is fighting extradition to Australia, where he is accused of being involved in one of the country's most serious cases of insider dealing, has applied for asylum in Hong Kong, Eastern Court heard yesterday.

Xiao Hui, 39, a former senior executive at mainland China's Sichuan Hanlong Group, is accused of being involved in 104 offences related to Hanlong's takeover bids for Australia's Sundance Resources and Bannerman Resources in 2011.

His lawyer Robert Tibbo asked the court to adjourn extradition proceedings pending the result of Xiao's asylum application, which may take years.

Tibbo said Xiao, also known as Steven Xiao, and his family had been subject to threats and his situation involved matters that "cannot be discussed in open court".

He said Hong Kong was Xiao's choice of "safe haven" and he had applied for asylum in the city on February 28 - asking to be protected from extradition to both Australia and mainland China.

He added that Xiao had only received case documents from the prosecution this week and papers appeared to be missing.

Anthea Li, representing the Department of Justice, told Eastern Court that the case allegedly involving Xiao was one of the most serious to face the Australian financial sector regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

She objected to a request for bail from the defendant.

Magistrate Bina Chainrai adjourned the case to March 24 for a progress check.

She refused to grant bail to Xiao, who was arrested at the Hong Kong International Airport in January this year after Australia filed charges against him last November.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying authorised the Department of Justice to start extradition proceedings earlier this month following a request from Australian authorities.

An application from Xiao to be freed on bail is due to go before the Court of First Instance on March 24.