‘Godson’ jailed after Hong Kong solicitors fooled over sale of flat

Cleaner who orchestrated fraud sentenced to four and a half years in jail

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 September, 2016, 11:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 September, 2016, 1:45am

A cleaner who masqueraded as a godson in order to sell the flat of an elderly man in a carefully orchestrated fraud was jailed yesterday for 4-1/2 years.

The District Court heard the case involved documents capable of deceiving ­two sets of lawyers.

Ivan Tang Yiu-cheong and his co-conspirators managed to coax two firms of solicitors into retrieving the deeds – claimed to have been lost – of the Kowloon City flat before he went on to sell the property belonging to To Siu-cheong for HK$ 6 million in 2013.

To, who is in his 80s, lives in Canada and was only made aware of the plot when his daughter in Hong Kong noticed his 800 square foot flat on Fuk Lo Tsun Road wasundergoing renovation.

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Tang, 34, had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud and seven others of money laundering.

It is understood the flat is still being occupied by the latest ­purchaser and legal action is yet to be takento retrieve the property.

The daughter, who attended the hearing, refused to comment.

Tang received half of the HK$100,000 he was promised as a reward after passing the proceeds to a co-conspirator.

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Sentencing Tang, Judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che said he could not help but imagine how real the forged documents – which included To’s fake identity card – appeared to be, as they managed to fool solicitors.

“It involves HK$6 million and that facts of the case are serious,” he said, adding the crime was a sophisticated one.

The court heard that in January 2013, one of the conspirators turned up at Ivan Tang & Co Solicitors with an old man, who produced the fake identity card, to ask for a new copy of the “lost” deeds for the flat.

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After obtaining them two months later, the man claiming to be To went to Raymond Kwong & Co Solicitors, with Tang to authorise the latter to sell the property.

Tang, who was accompanied by a blond man believed to be a co-conspirator, also requested the firm draft a will to make him the beneficiary of To’s probate.

The court heard the flat was sold in December that year, fetching HK$6 million, almost all of which was laundered by Tang via six bank accounts.

In mitigation, the defence counsel for Tang, Francis Cheng Ming-bun, told the judge his client was not the mastermind.

ButYiu disagreed, ­saying that Tang played an important role in the crime.