Actor in denial on $320,000 blackmail

ACTOR Sing Fui-on told a foreman no one would be allowed to work on his construction site unless the company paid him $320,000, a court heard yesterday.

Sing, 37, better known as ''Big Silly'', has pleaded not guilty to blackmail. He denies threatening the foreman at Nam Wai, Sai Kung, on August 6, 1991. A court earlier ordered that the alleged victim's name should not be revealed.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Toby Jenkyn-Jones said the 60-year-old foreman was working for the Yue Wing Construction Company, which was building eight three-storey blocks on the site near Nam Wai.

He claimed that on August 6, 1991, a man, later identified as the defendant, went to the site to see him.

''The situation is that he came and found me at site and he asked me if I knew the rules when I worked at that district. I said I rarely went to the New Territories to do construction work. Then that person left,'' he said.

The foreman claimed he knew the man was Sing Fui-on because he was a famous actor and he had seen him on television.

He alleged that during August, Sing said the company had to pay $40,000 for each of the eight blocks.

The witness told Sing he could not make any decision and he had to seek instructions from his superior.

On leaving, Sing wrote down his portable phone number and the words ''Mr Sing'' in Chinese characters, the District Court heard, telling the witness to contact him when he got a reply from his boss.

Sing later returned to see if a decision had been reached, but left when he was told there was no reply, the foreman said.

When his boss, Mr Lo Kwok-hung, told the foreman the amount was too high, the witness related the message to Sing.

At a meeting on August 25, the foreman claimed Mr Sing So, a man whom the defendant had earlier introduced him to, said money would be demanded from people who went into his village to work. He was later told to pay the sum to the rural office.

The witness said that at the end of August, the defendant Sing told him at the entrance to the site that if money was not paid, no one would be allowed to work there.

On one occasion, he alleged Sing parked a car by the side of a concrete mixer which was reversing into the site to unload materials. The two vehicles stopped and there was a dispute.

The truck driver later went to see the foreman who, in a bid to avoid trouble, told him to drive away.

The witness said Sing had told him he would not allow vehicles in so as to get the company to pay.

The court was told that on another occasion at the end of August, a person placed a vehicle at the site entrance, blocking the way for two hours.

At the beginning of September, the foreman said, money was taken by a person from the company to the rural office, but it was rejected.

Some time in October, the foreman said, he also took $100,000 from his boss to a man he did not know at the rural office, and a receipt was issued to him.

On October 10, 1991, Sing was arrested by a police officer, who later took two cautioned statements from him.

Police were unable to serve a summons on the foreman as he was out of town. A trial date was fixed last September when the witness returned from Macau.

The hearing before Judge Beeson continues.