Champion horse trainer Brian Kan released from prison, says he 'might emigrate'

Brian Kan, 75, threatens to leave Hong Kong, saying 'I'm now really poor'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 April, 2014, 11:50am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 April, 2014, 3:17am

Five-time champion racehorse trainer Brian Kan Ping-chee was released from prison for the second time in two years yesterday, and he said he was considering leaving Hong Kong.

The 75-year-old, who was jailed for vote buying, emerged from Stanley Prison yesterday morning, with his normally slick black hair now a shock of grey.

"I've finished my sentence, the case is over," he said. "The only thing is that I've spent a lot of money ... I'm now really poor. I'll have lunch later and then, I think, I might as well emigrate."

He did not say where he might go but last year said he might move to Britain, where he has family and where he spent time as a youth. It was while working there as a dishwasher that Kan met an English jockey, an encounter that changed his life.

Watch: Horses, money, politics and prison: The life of Hong Kong's most successful horse trainer, Brian Kan

Kan said his days as an election candidate were over.

Kan was jailed for three months in November 2011 for paying HK$130,000 to a village representative when he was seeking election to the executive committee of the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee earlier that year.

The Sheung Shui rural committee consisted of 46 village representatives who were entitled to vote. Kan, who was a powerful figure in the New Territories, lost the election to Bowie Hau Chi-keung.

After being released on bail, he lost an appeal in November 2012 and was sent to complete the remainder of his sentence.

The Department of Justice, however, appealed the leniency of the original sentence and applied to the High Court to have it increased to 12 months.

The court agreed and increased his sentence to 12 months, which included the three months he had already served, in October last year.

He was released yesterday after serving six months of the remaining nine months.

Before returning to prison for the second time last year, Kan told the South China Morning Post that he had found jail "dreary''.

"I am not too happy in Hong Kong now," he said in the interview. "To be honest, being in jail is dreary. It would be superficial for anyone to say it's not," he said in the interview, conducted in July last year.

Kan was greeted by his two sons and friends when he walked out of prison at 9.30am.

The first thing he asked was if any of their horses had won any races. One of his friends, a priest, presented him with a black leather-bound Chinese-version of the Bible as a gift.

The group then headed to Sha Tin Jockey Club for a meal. Kan - who trained more than 830 race winners in his career - said he would later return to his home in Sheung Shui to have a rest.