Mystery person’s HK$3m cheque used to pay Rafael Hui’s rent, court hears

Senior graft-buster tells trial person whose money paid for luxury flats is "not related" to SHKP, the Kwok brothers or the corruption case

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 10:22pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 3:43am

Rafael Hui Si-yan used a HK$3 million cheque from an unnamed source to pay the rent on two luxury flats for 18 months after he became No 2 in the city's government in 2005, the High Court heard yesterday.

The cheque came from a person who had "nothing to do" with the case in which Hui and the tycoon Kwok brothers are on trial for corruption, senior graft-buster Hazel Law Pui-man said.

Hui is alleged to have lived - at times rent-free - in the two Sun Hung Kai Properties flats in Happy Valley from February 2003. He is also alleged to have received tens of millions of dollars from the developer's co-chairmen Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen.

Under cross-examination, Law, a senior investigator for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, said the investigation found Hui used the cheque to pay the rent from July 2005 to December 2006, while he served as chief secretary.

"The ICAC has made inquiries. The person is not related to SHKP, [and] not related to the Kwok brothers. It is nothing to do with this case," she said. She did not identify the person.

The Kwoks, on trial with Hui and two others, are alleged to have paid Hui to act as their "eyes and ears" in the government.

The court had previously heard that Hui told ICAC officials that rent-free accommodation was part of a remuneration package when he acted as consultant for SHKP from March 2004 to March 2005 until he resigned to prepare to return to the government on June 30, 2005.

The developer started to collect HK$160,000 a month in rent from Hui from July 2005. Law said that after using the cheque, Hui paid at least HK$4.9 million in rent, using a HK$10 million Bank of East Asia overdraft.

Law told the court the ICAC had searched the flats in question at The Leighton Hill, another home in Wan Chai and Hui's office to collect evidence.

Investigators also searched SHKP offices and checked bank records. As banks only kept records for seven years, the earliest record the ICAC got was from March 2005.

Law said co-defendant and former stock exchange senior executive Francis Kwan Hung-sang, a childhood friend of Hui, had given him HK$8.5 million in various forms including cheques, cashier orders and deposits a few days before he took office as chief secretary.

The court heard earlier that Kwan acted as a go-between with SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen to pay the money to Hui.

Hui, 66, faces eight charges related 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. Thomas Chan, 67, and Francis Kwan, 63, each face two charges. All plead not guilty.

The hearing continues today.