Middleman in Rafael Hui graft case gets early release from Hong Kong’s Stanley Prison
Ex-stock exchange executive Francis Kwan, convicted of handling more than HK$11 million in bribes to city’s former No 2 official, has sentence reduced for good behaviour
A former senior Hong Kong stock exchange executive was released early from a maximum security prison on Thursday morning, becoming the first of four men to be freed following their convictions in a corruption scandal that took down the city’s former No 2 official Rafael Hui Si-yan.
At about 8.45am, Francis Kwan Hung-sang was sent to the gates of Stanley Prison in a golf cart and escorted out by two officials from the Correctional Services Department.
Carrying a plastic bag and wearing a smile, Kwan appeared thinner and with more grey hair than before he was jailed. The former official was not in his usual rectangular glasses and suit. Instead, he wore a light blue striped shirt with no tie, dark trousers and a black blazer.
Kwan waved goodbye to prison officials and got into a waiting taxi without taking questions from reporters.
His release came 20 months earlier than expected because his sentence had been reduced by a third due to good behaviour, a source told the Post last week.
Kwan had wept in court when he was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2014 for handling HK$11.18 million (US$1.5 million) in bribes to former chief secretary Hui.
Former Sun Hung Kai Properties joint chairman Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen were also convicted in the case and are still serving their sentences.
It was the biggest corruption court case in Hong Kong’s history.
Chan, another middleman who was sentenced to six years in jail, is expected to be the next in the group to walk free. He could be out by the end of the year on good behaviour.
Hui was jailed for 7½ years, while Kwok was locked up for five years.
The case came to light in 2008 when the Independent Commission Against Corruption received an anonymous letter accusing Kwok and his brother Raymond Kwok Ping-luen of providing Hui with rent-free accommodation at Leighton Hill, an upscale housing development in Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island.
After a 133-day trial involving more than 120 witnesses in 2014, Hui was found guilty of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office after receiving nearly HK$20 million in bribes, including taking HK$8.5 million from Thomas Kwok through two middlemen before he took office in 2005. Prosecutors said this made him “favourably disposed” to Thomas Kwok and Sun Hung Kai Properties.
Raymond Kwok was acquitted.