Son 'pressed police' to investigate doctor

Businessman quoted 'famous family' to push for action against radiologist who gave his philanthropist mother pills, court told

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 2:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 2:50am

The son of late philanthropist Anita Chan Lai-ling told a police officer her job was at risk unless action was taken against a radiologist who prescribed drugs to his mother before her death, a court heard yesterday.

The female radiologist, Dr Yau Yat-yin, denies one count of supplying a dangerous drug to a person not authorised or licensed to have it. Eastern Court earlier heard that Yau had prescribed Chan more than 5,900 antidepressant pills and two painkilling patches in the four years before her death.

Quoting a transcript of a conversation after Anita Chan's death in October 2007, defence lawyer Giles Surman asked Anson Chan Yiu-cheung why he told the officer "my family is a famous philanthropic family" and said he would "complain to the Legislative Council".

He also told her "you would not want to fail to keep your post as a government official", the court heard.

But Anson Chan questioned whether the officer had correctly understood him, and said even the youngest officer knew he did not have such influence. He said everyone had a right to complain to Legco.

"What [Surman] described as pressure, I'd say they are my concerns," said Chan, CEO of Bonds Group, a company founded by Anita Chan and her husband, educationalist Chan Shu-kui.

Anson Chan was also asked about the relationship between his mother and the defendant, who has been described as her goddaughter.

He had earlier told the court he could not remember precisely when the two met, but that he believed Yau had been part of the team that treated his mother for breast cancer in 1998.

They grew closer after the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, after which Anita Chan became reluctant to go to hospital, the court heard.

"From 2003 to 2007, the relationship between Dr Yau and my mum became more diverse. From doctor and patient, they had since become good friends and then business partners," Chan said, referring to a health centre they ran together.

Surman put it to Chan that his mother had been a private person who wanted the at-home medical attention Yau provided. But Chan said Yau made the offer of help, and his mother "gladly accepted".

The cross-examination became heated at times, and Magistrate So Wai-tak told Chan to calm down a couple of times. Chan complained he felt aggravated by Surman's questioning.

Prosecutor Jonathan Man Tak-ho also called Leung Wang-yan, a pharmacist at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital in Happy Valley, where Yau worked. Leung said he recalled Yau prescribing drugs under her own name between 2003 and 2009, but could not say whom they were for.

The hearing continues today.