Former government number two Rafael Hui Si-yan is to face a new charge that he “concealed” alleged corrupt payments of more than HK$11 million when Hong Kong’s biggest ever corruption case returns to court next week.
The new charge comes seven days before ex-chief secretary, Hui, 64, and the billionaire Kwok brothers – who head the property giant Sun Hung Kai Properties – are due to return to court to enter pleas in the case which has attracted global publicity.
Prosecutors have also amended the original charges to allege that the brothers who run SHKP – the world’s biggest property developer by market value – Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, 61, and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, 59, – paid Hui HK$8.5 million in bribes, HK$150,000 more than was outlined in the original charges.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said on Friday: “Having reviewed the available evidence, prosecutors have amended charge five to reflect the fact that the total amount of money paid by Thomas Kwok to Rafael Hui was HK$8.5m. The charge had originally identified the amount paid as HK$8.35m,” the spokeswoman said.
The added charge of failing to declare, disclose or conceal his receipt of HK$11.182 million from SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 66, former Hong Kong Stock Exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 62, and others forms part of an existing conspiracy charge.
The prosecuting authorities have decided not to proceed on the charge of conspiracy to offer advantages to a public servant against Hui and Raymond Kwok.
The spokesman said the decision was taken “following a further review of the available evidence”.
“We have concluded that this charge is not part of the core allegations against the defendants and, in light of the other charges, that it is unnecessary to proceed further.”
On March 8, the prosecution will start a committal hearing – at which the defendants will indicate their pleas – before the presiding magistrate decides whether the case should be forwarded to the High Court. More than 70 witnesses will be called when the case is expected to come to trial next year.