The ongoing graft trial of the Kwok brothers and Rafael Hui Si-yan, the highest-level criminal case in Hong Kong’s history, has attracted not only scores of journalists but also former high-flying telecommunications executive Linus Cheung Wing-lam.
Arriving at the Court of First Instance on the second day of the 70-day trial, the recently low-profile Cheung, who had served in executive positions at Asia Television, PCCW and Cathay Pacific, took a seat at the public gallery specially set up outside the courtroom.
He watched on a screen hung on the wall with a simultaneous broadcast of the hearing of real estate tycoons Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties, along with former chief secretary Hui.
“I’ve known Rafael Hui for 40 years. He’s been my friend for decades,” Cheung said.
“He was a year ahead of me when we were both studying at the University of Hong Kong. I was in the 1968 class and him 1967, as I remember.” Both he and Hui served in the university’s student union, Cheung added.
Cheung was executive chairman at ATV, deputy chairman of PCCW, chief executive of Hongkong Telecom, and deputy managing director of the Hong Kong-based airlines.
“I’ve also known the Kwoks for a decade or two - friends on the business field,” said Cheung, who serves as the chairman of the board of governors of Centennial College, of HKU.
He left after 15 minutes and said he would come to see the trial again.
“I would encourage law students to come to see it too,” he said.
The five defendants in Hong Kong's high-profile graft case arrived in court on Friday to listen to a series of legal arguments ahead of the swearing in of the jury.
Heavy rain that lashed Hong Kong overnight did affect the court's prompt 10am start.
Proceedings ahead of jury selection cannot be reported for legal reasons.
Yesterday the Kwok brothers, Hui, executive director of SHKP Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, and former Hong Kong stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang denied all allegations of bribery.