Hong Kong policeman and wife deny pocketing HK$20 million in luxury watch scam

Couple and a third defendant accused of luring victims to buy the goods with promise of keeping profits from resales

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 July, 2017, 7:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 July, 2017, 8:03am

A policeman and his wife denied cheating 14 people out of more than HK$20 million in a scheme that involved buying and reselling luxury watches.

Mainland Chinese businessman Herman Yu told the District Court on Monday how he bought 30 Rolexes in May 2013 for housewife Chu Hoi-yan, 36, a fellow parent at his daughter’s nursery.

He said she had told his wife she was going to resell the watches but needed help with the initial purchase because it exceeded her credit limit.

At first my wife said it would be profitable. But when we had to pay the credit card bills, they didn’t pay us back
Herman Yu, businessman testifying in court

Yu recalled paying HK$2.37 million, but prosecutors said his wife was cheated out of HK$14.69 million. Part of the money was used to buy 122 watches after she was told she could pocket all the profit from their resale.

“At first my wife said it would be profitable. But when we had to pay the credit card bills, they didn’t pay us back,” Yu testified.

Chu faces eight counts of fraud and four of money laundering. Her husband, Kevin Au Yeung Hak-man, 39, is being tried on two counts of money laundering. A third defendant Lee Yuk-fung, 44, pleaded not guilty to two counts of money laundering and a conspiracy charge.

The three also denied dealing with property known or believed to present the proceeds of an indictable offence, which amounted to more than HK$45.95 million.

Prosecutors dropped 10 other fraud charges against the couple after revealing that one of the alleged victims, believed to be a police officer, committed suicide earlier this month.

The charges spanned from January 2011 to November 2013 and involved 173 watches in total. The trial continues before deputy district judge Amy Chan Wai-mun.