A businessman accused of blackmailing a listed company's chairman for 300 million shares claimed yesterday that the alleged victim had used Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee's name to induce him to invest.
Koon Wing-yee, 57, told the Court of First Instance that Hui Chi-ming, former chairman of Sino Union Petroleum and Chemical International (Sunpec), had asked him to buy shares for HK$200 million, telling him Lee was an investor.
"He did not tell me the details of how Lee had invested. However, I guessed that if Lee had invested, the share price would rise sharply," Koon said.
Koon, ex-chairman of listed Easyknit Group, is charged along with Ng Chi-keung, 71, Wong Chin-yik, 61, Shum Man-keung, 59, and Chan Kwai-nam, 62, with two counts of conspiracy to blackmail and one of theft. Wong also faces a charge of blackmail and one of possessing arms while committing blackmail.
Koon said he first heard of Sunpec when he met Hui in 2007.
Hui introduced himself as an honorary consul of Madagascar.
"I got the feeling that he wanted to give a good impression of his company to me," Koon said.
After finding that Sunpec had annual earnings of HK$4.4 billion, he bought millions of shares between 17 and 18 December, and sold 10 million for HK$1.70 a share on December 19. Within a week the price dropped to HK$1.30.
On December 27, Hui asked Koon why he had sold the shares so soon.
Hui then told him Lee had invested in his company and suggested that he buy more shares, agreeing to give him 250 million shares as an incentive.
The case continues today.