He transferred assets to avoid paying damages for fatal collapse 12 years ago The director of a property management company who transferred assets worth HK$37.6 million to evade paying damages for the fatal collapse of a canopy in Aberdeen 12 years ago was jailed for 10 months yesterday. Potter Pang, 58, was sentenced in the District Court on charges of fraud as an officer of a company that had gone into liquidation and making a false declaration, to which he had pleaded not guilty. Deputy District Judge Henry Mierczak said Pang had 'deliberately created a sham' to defraud his creditors and that such transfers were made so that 'no one would get anything'. Pang's Housing Management Agency was found jointly liable for the accident in which a 76-year-old newspaper vendor died and eight people were injured when a 15-tonne concrete canopy gave way under the weight of an illegally installed restaurant fish tank at Albert House along Sai On Street on August 1, 1994. The court heard that Pang had sold four properties owned by the agency for HK$1 to shell companies he controlled so that he could avoid having to pay HK$9.9 million in personal damages. He was also found guilty of making a false declaration claiming that the transactions were made to reorganise the group of shell companies, and thus avoiding stamp duty between April and May 2001. The judge set a starting sentence of 12 months in prison for the offences, which he deemed serious. But he allowed a two-month reduction because of Pang's clear record and the lingering psychological suffering that he suffered over the past decade as a result of the accident. He also disqualified Pang from being director or manager of a company for four years. Defence Counsel Keith Yeung said that Pang would pay HK$3 million compensation from the sale of his assets on the mainland and in Macau. Mr Yeung said Pang was remorseful, citing psychological evaluations that found he had suffered depression and adaptation disorders following the canopy's collapse. In 1999, the Court of First Instance ruled in a civil case that six parties, including Housing Management and individual and incorporated owners, were liable for the collapse. The court awarded the plaintiff HK$33,257,886 in September 2001. The entire claim was settled by a company that owned a number of units in Albert House in 2002. The company later demanded the Housing Management Agency pay its share of the settlement, but to no avail. The company then petitioned to close Housing Management in 2003. The court heard that Pang, anticipating that his company was going to suffer huge liabilities from the civil proceedings, had gradually transferred the properties at stake to other companies under his control in April and May 2001.