Lavish spending of former chief secretary Rafael Hui detailed by prosecutor

Lavish spending of ex-chief secretary is detailed by prosecutor, with alleged extravagance that cost him up to 10 times his annual salary

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 June, 2014, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 June, 2014, 8:23am

Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan lived an “extravagant” and “lavish” lifestyle that cost him up to 10 times his income, the High Court was told yesterday.

He once spent HK$33,000 on a dinner, spent more than HK$7.5 million on his credit cards in three years and withdrew HK$10,000 a day in cash from his bank, prosecutor David Perry QC said on the second day of his opening address.

He was a man of expensive tastes … he was living way beyond his means

Perry said Hui’s lifestyle made him “vulnerable to exploitation by those who are willing to buy his services, as a member of the government”.

He added: “Because of his extravagance, Hui was willing to give in to his vulnerability. He was willing to trade what he had to sell – the fact that he was the representative of the government with power and influence.”

Perry said Hui enjoyed “a very, very high standard of living” and said he was “a man with 8expensive and refined tastes”. He said: “Without the payments made to him by the second and third defendants [Sun Hung Kai Properties chairmen Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen], he would not have been able to fund the lifestyle he enjoyed,” he said.

Perry said Hui had 14 bank 8accounts and 25 credit cards.

When Hui was chief secretary on an annual income of HK$4.6 million, he withdrew more than HK$4.8 million and spent HK$2.46 million on credit cards between July 2006 and June 2007.

After he stepped down to be a non-official Executive Council member, his income dropped to HK$1.3 million. But his cash withdrawals between July 2007 and June 2008 rose to HK$6.98 million with credit card spending of HK$3.4 million, the prosecution alleged. That was 10 times his 8income as an Exco member.

“[He] stayed in expensive hotels and had expensive dinners … HK$33,000 on a dinner in 8Nicholini’s restaurant in the 8Conrad hotel,” Perry said. “He became even more stark in his financial position. His cash 8withdrawals actually exceeded his income.”

Perry added: “He was living way beyond his means. But he had the benefit of millions of dollars from the other defendants.”

He said Hui spent HK$42,000 on a Bulgari watch in 2006 and also kept a horse. “He … had a passion for racing … He spent vast sums on carrots and bran … to ensure [the horse’s] good health and fitness.”

Hui, 66, faces eight charges 8related to bribery and misconduct in public office.

Thomas Kwok, 62, faces one charge of conspiracy to offer an advantage to Hui and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Raymond Kwok, 61, faces four charges, including one with Hui of furnishing false information.

SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 67, and former Hong Kong stock 8exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 63, each face two charges. All have pleaded not guilty. The prosecution will continue on Monday.