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Rafael Hui

More than 400 bids for Hong Kong mementos from Rafael Hui’s private collection

Sale of disgraced former chief secretary’s luxury items sees banknotes get most interest, and removal of artworks believed to be made of ivory

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 12:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 11:02pm

Memorabilia once belonging to Rafael Hui Si-yan, including official mementos from Hong Kong’s colonial era and the time of the city’s handover to China, have attracted more than 400 bids in a public tender, according to the organiser seeking to sell the pieces to offset the disgraced former top official’s reported debts of HK$75 million.

But ivory collectors may be disappointed by the sudden removal of artworks that are apparently made of the banned material, following intervention from the government.

JLA Asia, one of the trustees handling the property of the bankrupt and jailed former chief secretary, told the South China Morning Post that banknotes, such as a set issued by Standard Chartered Hong Kong in 2002, were the most popular items. They received more than 30 bids.

But JLA did not specify how many people had made bids in the two-week sale, which ended last Friday. It also declined to disclose how much the sold items fetched.

Apart from collectible banknotes, the firm had put a total of about 70 items up for sale from Hui’s private collection, including Chinese paintings, sculptures, stamps and souvenirs.

But JLA said three ivory carvings were withdrawn from sale at the request of the government. In reply to the South China Morning Post’s inquiries, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department confirmed it had informed the firm of licensing requirements for possessing ivory items in Hong Kong.

This latest public tender came after two separate rounds last year.

It was understood that a Taiwanese collector bought 11,000 records, CDs and video discs, previously in Hui’s possession, as a single lot in January last year.

Hui’s wine collection was also sold, for an unspecified amount, last April.

The former official, who is currently serving time, was arrested in March 2012 by the Independent Commission Against Corruption on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

His trial – along with that of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) co-chairmen Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen – which opened in early June 2014, has since been called the most high-profile corruption trial in Hong Kong’s history.

Hui was convicted for taking HK$8.5 million from Thomas Kwok through middlemen shortly before being sworn in as chief secretary in 2005, and HK$11.182 million from former SHKP executive Thomas Chan Kui-yuen and businessman Francis Kwan Hung-sang after leaving office.