Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa's resignation in 2005 was greeted with enthusiasm by Sun Hung Kai Properties co-chairman Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, the Court of First Instance was told yesterday.
He even made a special note in his diary to describe how energised he felt, prosecutor David Perry QC said.
"Tung resigning good a lot of energy", Kwok scribbled on March 10, 2005, the day Tung stepped down, the court heard.
That same day, Kwok met Rafael Hui Si-yan, a long-time friend widely tipped to be the new chief secretary, Perry said.
The prosecutor, continuing his opening speech on the third day of the trial, sought to demonstrate how Raymond Kwok, his brother and SHKP co-chairman Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and two others bribed Hui in anticipation he would become the city's No2 official. He told the court last week Hui was paid millions of dollars so he would be the "eyes and ears" of SHKP in the government.
Hui, 66, who is alleged to have received HK$34 million in cash and other inducements, faces eight charges related to bribery and misconduct in public office.
Thomas Kwok, 62, faces one charge of conspiracy to offer an advantage to Hui and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.
Raymond Kwok, 61, faces four charges, including one with Hui of furnishing false information.
Yesterday Perry read out the diary entries to question Raymond Kwok's claim that he did not know Hui was to be chief secretary when money was paid into his bank account.
Perry said the entries showed Raymond Kwok called Hui on many occasions amid media reports of a possible reshuffle of the government between February and March 2005. The day after media reports on March 8 that Tung was expected to be replaced by then chief secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Hui was tipped to be chief secretary, Raymond Kwok wrote in his diary: "Call Hui re CE and CS".
Perry said on the day Tung quit, Raymond Kwok wrote: "Trip to office talk to T Chan call Rafael Hui re his role at SHKP", with T being Thomas Chan.
Perry said the diary entries showed the two Kwok brothers had a meeting with Hui on March 22, a day after the press reported Hui's close links with SHKP as speculation mounted that the former career civil servant would return to the government.
Tsang was appointed chief executive on June 21 and Hui became chief secretary on June 30.
Referring to one of the payments in the charges of HK$5 million, Perry said: "It was paid at the time when … it must have been obvious to the defendants what [Hui's] future was to be."
The court also heard that Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, the older brother of Thomas and Raymond, was at first involved in the negotiation of a consultancy service agreement with Hui before he stepped down as the managing director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority. But Walter Kwok later "fell out of the picture". The court heard that under the agreement, Hui would be paid HK$4.5 million and live rent-free in two luxury flats in Happy Valley.
Hui and his wife viewed the Leighton Hill units as early as 2001, just a year into his managing director role in the authority, where he stayed until 2003, Perry said. "He and his wife were expressing interest in Leighton Hill in 2001," the prosecutor added. "It is apparent that they were very confident they would live there."
He said this confidence was shown by their spending HK$1.3 million on interior design as early as 2002, before they moved in on Valentine's Day the next year.
Perry said Hui did not pay rent when he was still with the MPFSA. Hui claimed he withheld payment for the first seven months for various reasons, including a burst water pipe.
But Perry said Hui wrote a letter to the management office praising its "excellent service".
When Hui was appointed chief secretary he agreed a new deal for the flats based on the market rate. But Perry said that around the time he paid HK$480,000 as a two-month deposit and a month's rent in advance, Francis Kwan paid him HK$1 million in two cheques.
Perry earlier said Hui received HK$4.8 million from Thomas Kwok, representing the rent over the 2½ years after he was made chief secretary.
The case continues today.
Austin Chiu, Stuart Lau, Patsy Moy and Enoch Yiu