Pro-Beijing lawyer Kennedy Wong faces ICAC bribery charges

Anti-graft agency alleges CPPCC delegate and two others offered payments to company director as they became major shareholders

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 August, 2015, 5:05am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 August, 2015, 7:21pm

Prominent pro-Beijing figure and lawyer, Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, has been charged by the ICAC over an alleged bribery racket involving illicit payments linked to a deal to restructure a major company.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption said Wong, 52, and two other men, Chui Chuen-shun, 61, and Richard Yin Yingneng, 62, had been charged under Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

The three are accused of making an illegal agreement to pay fees for services rendered to a director of a listed company while it was being restructured.

Wong - a prominent lawyer who has been a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference since 2003 - faces a separate charge of offering HK$15 million worth of share options for HK$1.8 million to the same director in return for that individual's participation in a corporate takeover Wong was involved in.

In a statement released yesterday, the ICAC said all three men had been released on bail and would appear at Eastern Court on Wednesday.

The ICAC alleged that in October 2007, Wong - as an incumbent director - and his co-accused - as former directors of Perfect Ace Investments Limited - offered an advantage to an executive director of Ocean Grand, the company with whom they had entered into a restructuring agreement.

The restructuring was completed in September 2008 and Perfect Ace became the major shareholder of Ocean Grand and Wong its chairman. The Ocean Grand executive director concerned retained his post within that company, the ICAC alleged.

In its statement, the anti-graft agency said that in January 2009, Ocean Grand was renamed Hong Kong Resources Holdings Company Limited and acquired five subsidiaries from the publicly listed 3D-Gold Jewellery Holdings Limited in July 2009.

The separate charge Wong faces is that on or about August 19, 2009, he allegedly offered the share options for HK$1.8million to the executive director participating in Hong Kong Resources' acquisition of the five subsidiaries of 3D-Gold.

Once a rising star in the local pro-Beijing camp, at 33, Wong became the youngest member of the Provisional Legislative Council in 1997. Between 2000 and 2010, he was a vice-chairman of the All-China Youth Federation, an organisation under the Chinese Communist Party.

Wong is a managing partner of Philip KH Wong, Kennedy YH Wong & Co, a law firm founded by his father. His sister is Ada Wong Ying-kay, who works at the same law firm, and both are well known in the political arena as siblings with opposite leanings. Ada, a former Wan Chai District Council chairwoman, is a liberal, outspoken on democratic development and cultural policies.

Kennedy Wong has held positions on various governmental bodies including the Central Policy Unit, the Commission on Youth and the Antiquities Advisory Board. His public service portfolio also covers the ICAC, where he was a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee on Community Relations from 2001 to 2007. He was also awarded a Bronze Bauhinia Medal in 2005.

On the law firm's website, Kennedy Wong was introduced as a key figure who expanded its businesses onto the mainland, as he "succeeded in obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Justice to open an office in Shanghai in 1992 and in Beijing in 2005".

After graduating in law from the University of Kent in England in 1984, Wong was admitted as a solicitor in Hong Kong in 1988.