A MERCHANT demanded $400,000 from a forex dealer in return for his silence, a court heard. The dealer, Michael Lam Yih-jiun, 31, was the key witness who said he was too frightened to give evidence against Emperor tycoon Albert Yeung Sau-shing during his false imprisonment and criminal intimidation trial in May. Lam is now the prime witness in a separate case against his former customer Sze Kung-yee. Sze, 51, a merchant in imports and exports, was charged at Western Court with attempting to pervert the course of public justice. He denies the charge. He was alleged to have demanded $400,000 from Lam in the Hilton Hotel on April 3, in return for not giving evidence against Lam in any prosecution for forgery. The merchant was yesterday absent from the court due to illness. Magistrate Ian Candy adjourned the case to Wednesday at Eastern Court and extended Sze's bail of $150,000. Sze and Lam's former employer, the Emperor International Exchange, made reports to the police in mid-January in connection with some unusual financial activities in the merchant's account between August and November last year. The account was handled by Mr Lam, who thus became a suspect. Mr Lam left the group at the end of last November and he has not been charged with any offence relating to the forgery complaints. But he is due to appear in Western Court next month over his refusal to answer questions in Mr Yeung's trial.