Prosecution rests in marathon corruption trial of Rafael Hui Si-yan

Graft case has already run for 72 days, two days longer than time allotted for whole trial

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 September, 2014, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 September, 2014, 3:07am

Prosecutors yesterday completed their case in the graft trial involving former government No 2 Rafael Hui Si-yan, overrunning the original 70-day schedule set for the entire trial by two days.

The High Court adjourned the case until next week, when the jury will be told of the next step in the marathon trial that also involves Sun Hung Kai Properties co-chairmen and brothers Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen.

Yesterday, Raymond Kwok's counsel sought to prove that Hui was not the only man tipped to become chief secretary shortly after he ceased his role as SHKP's consultant in 2005.

John Tsang Chun-wah, now financial chief, and former education minister Michael Suen Ming-yeung were among the "hot" candidates, John Kelsey-Fry QC said, citing media reports.

Since May, prosecutors have called more than 50 witnesses and scrutinised a decade's worth of diaries and dozens of transactions that allegedly funnelled millions of dollars in bribes from the Kwok brothers to Hui through two middlemen and a string of overseas bank accounts.

The Kwoks had hired Hui as a consultant in 2004. He allegedly began receiving payment when the media aired rumours that he would become chief secretary the following year. The rumours prompted Hui's premature termination of his consultancy agreement, but even so, the Kwoks agreed to pay him in full, the court heard.

Between 2005 and 2007, Hui was chief secretary under chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, and in the two years that followed, a non-official member of the Executive Council.

In those 31/2 years from June 2005 to January 2009, he lived what prosecutors called an "extravagant" lifestyle, spending much more than his government income. During that period, he earned a total of HK$11.3 million from the government but withdrew HK$22.8 million in cash and charged another HK$9.6 million to his credit cards.

By 2010, he had defaulted on a HK$3 million unsecured loan he had taken from an SHKP subsidiary, Honour Finance, in 2004.

Mr Justice Andrew Macrae yesterday adjourned the case for legal arguments that will take place in the jury's absence. The process could last until Wednesday, he told the nine jurors.

Hui, 66, is accused of accepting HK$34 million in cash and other inducements and enjoying the rent-free use of luxury flats in Leighton Hill, Causeway Bay, without proper disclosure. He 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. SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 67, and former Hong Kong stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 63, each face two charges.

All have pleaded not guilty.