Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan was open-handed in treating people to meals, a high-profile corruption trial involving two tycoons heard yesterday.
Defence lawyers extracted the description from prosecution witness Raymond Chin Yuet-ming, Hui's friend of more than 20 years.
"Would you agree that Mr Hui himself is rather generous in treating people for meals," barrister Ian Winter QC asked during cross-examination. Chin replied: "Absolutely correct."
Chin was giving evidence relating to Hong Kong stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, who is Hui's childhood friend and Chin's business partner.
Kwan stands accused of taking part in a scheme engineered to funnel to Hui, via Sun Hung Kai Properties executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen and Kwan, millions of dollars from the Kwok brothers of SHKP.
Chin said he ran a business with Kwan selling Alco-out, a drug said to prevent drunkenness and cure hangovers. In November 2008 and August 2010, when they wanted to expand, Hui lent them HK$1.5 million and HK$1 million, Chin said.
Of the HK$2.5 million received, HK$1.5 million went to Kwan as repayment for his investment in the company.
"Is [Kwan] someone who is prone to overblowing things?" Winter asked.
Chin replied: "Slightly."
Earlier, prosecutors said Kwan had told the Independent Commission Against Corruption that the funds he moved to Hui were genuine loans.
Another prosecution witness, Basil Ho Pui-sing, said yesterday that his status as Chan's brother-in-law did not affect his evidence.
"Do you remember yesterday the prosecutor tried three times to get you to say you are a good friend of Mr Chan?" Winter asked. "You have come here to tell the truth. You have not changed anything that you have said because you happened to be the brother of Chan Kui-yuen's wife." Ho replied: "Correct."
Ho, who worked for Chan, had been testifying about the movement of funds from companies under Chan's family trust.
Winter suggested deposits into Chan's company, Villalta, were rental profits and management fees earned by companies under the trust. Ho agreed.
Hui, 66, faces eight counts related to bribery and misconduct in public office. Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, 62, and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, 61, face three and four charges, respectively. Chan, 67, and Kwan, 63, face two charges each. All plead not guilty.