International schools in Hong Kong

Would man jump into hellfire if wife told him to? Hong Kong court asked question in HK$3.6 million elite school scam trial

Prosecution rejects claims that Ng Mei-chuen, 25, knew nothing of alleged plot by then girlfriend Chu Lau-ying, 27, to defraud parents of prospective pupils

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 March, 2017, 3:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 March, 2017, 8:25pm

Would a man “jump into hellfire” if his wife told him to, a prosecutor asked on Friday as he urged the court to determine the role played by the spouse of an elite school employee embroiled in a multi-million-dollar scam.

Chu Lau-ying, a former staff member of Harrow International School, is facing numerous charges for attempting to defraud parents of prospective pupils of up to HK$3.6 million on multiple occasions in 2015 and 2016. Her husband, Ng Mei-chuen, is a co-defendant in the case.

The prosecution questioned whether Ng would have just done whatever Chu told him to without asking for reasons, rejecting claims that the man knew nothing about the purported plot.

Former admissions officer of international school in Hong Kong faces fraud charges totalling HK$3 million

The District Court previously heard how a couple had paid HK$1.5 million in “donations” to the defendant after Chu advised them that their daughter would not be accepted otherwise.

He was alleged to have only laundered the money
Li Kwok-wai, prosecutor

Another parent of a prospective student allegedly paid Chu HK$600,000 as a sponsorship payment.

In a third instance, Chu is accused of attempting to defraud a parent of another HK$1.5 million by telling them their child was ranked low on a waiting list – the transaction did not go ahead.

Both parents who did pay the amount requested were advised to make a cheque out to the school’s “senior staff member” Ng – Chu’s boyfriend at the time.He is charged with dealing with proceeds of crime.

On Friday, prosecutor Li Kwok-wai noted the absence of evidence showing that Ng had contacted the parents.

“He was alleged to have only laundered the money,” Li said.

But he requested that the court look at the case in its entirety and determine the husband’s actual role.

“Would Ng just do it if he were asked [by his wife] to jump into hellfire?” the prosecutor asked. “Wouldn’t he have any doubts?”

Chu, 27, and Ng, 25, who were released on bail last April, are expected to face their verdicts next month.