Rafael Hui's involvement in cultural district project raised in graft trial

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 1:31am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 8:04am

Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan and Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong of Sun Hung Kai Properties told media in 2005 that Hui was not involved in the West Kowloon Cultural District project when he served as the developer's consultant, the High Court heard yesterday.

This contrasted with what Raymond Kwok Ping-luen told prosecutors in 2012, in a representation read to the court earlier, that Hui had given advice on the project.

The prosecution has alleged that Hui, the city's former No 2 official, received tens of millions of dollars from SHKP co-chairmen Raymond and Thomas Kwok, and two others, to be the property magnate's "eyes and ears" and "inside man" in the government.

Yesterday, prosecutor Joseph Tse Wah-yuen SC read out news articles from 2005 that reported that Hui, after he was sworn in as chief secretary in late June that year, insisted he was not involved in SHKP's bid for work on the West Kowloon Cultural District project. In July 2005, media quoted Thomas Kwok as saying the same, the court heard.

But lead prosecutor David Perry QC said in his opening address last week that Raymond Kwok's lawyers wrote to the prosecution in 2012 saying Hui had given advice on the project when he served as the developer's consultant from 2003 until shortly before he became the chief secretary in June 2005.

In his representation, Raymond Kwok said Hui did not favour the group in connection with the project after he returned to the government.

Media reports cited by the prosecution showed that lawmakers in 2005 had asked Hui to explain his ties with SHKP and asked him to step away from the arts hub project.

Perry stated yesterday that some of the HK$10.8 million that co-defendant and SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen is alleged to have paid Hui through co-defendant and former Hong Kong stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang in 2005 originated from cheques signed by Chan's daughter, Carrie Chan. Those cheques were payable to Chan's company Villalta, from which the sum was passed on to Kwan, Perry said.

Hui, 66, faces eight charges relating to bribery and misconduct in public office. Thomas Kwok, 62, and Raymond Kwok, 61, face three and four charges respectively. Chan, 67, and Kwan, 63, each face two charges. All plead not guilty. The trial continues.