Dead constable's mother breaks down during questioning about financial dealings The wife of constable Tsui Po-ko has asked for an exemption from testifying at the inquest into the death of her husband and those of two officers and a security guard, on the grounds the inquiry has become a 'quasi-criminal proceeding'. On the 32nd day of the hearing, Li Po-ling yesterday sat in the public gallery of the Coroner's Court and heard mother-in-law Cheung Wai-mei's deposition. Ms Li is expected to be the last witness the coroner's officer, Arthur Luk Yee-shun SC, would call to testify before the inquest ends this week. Solicitor Daniel Wong Kwok-tung, representing Ms Cheung in the inquest, told the Coroner, Michael Chan Pik-kiu, that he was formally engaged by Ms Li on Friday. 'Ms Li would like to exercise a legal privilege to be excused from being called to testify in this court,' said Mr Wong, after Ms Cheung had finished her testimony. 'The husband and wife privilege applicable in criminal courts shall also apply in this court as Ms Li felt that the inquest has developed into a quasi-criminal proceeding.' The privilege refers to the right of a defendant's spouse not to be compelled to testify in a trial. The court has heard earlier that Tsui was allegedly responsible for the killings of constable Tsang Kwok-hang in last year's Tsim Sha Tsui shoot-out, constable Leung Shing-yan in March 2001, and security guard Zafar Iqbal Khan in a bank robbery in 2001. Mr Wong said the inquest extraordinarily involved investigation into the identity of a killer. 'Ms Li, as the wife of Tsui Po-ko, is not obliged to testify as such a right applies,' he said. He also asked the court to withdraw Ms Li's witness summons. Having heard the application, Mr Chan is expected to hear from Mr Luk and Peter Ip Tak-keung, barrister for the police commissioner, today. He will also deliver his ruling on the application today. In yesterday's hearing, Tsui's mother burst into tears when she was pressed to answer questions relating to HK$150,000 she gave her son in 2004 and HK$350,000 her son gave her in 2005. Mr Luk questioned her financial capabilities after her retirement with a pension of about HK$300,000. Ms Cheung, who has been retired since 2001, said she gave Tsui HK$150,000 on October 27, 2004. She then opened a securities account in November and Tsui deposited HK$350,000 into the account on February 22, 2005. 'He is my son, I had given him money before. He took me on trips. I never thought this HK$150,000 was thrown into the sea,' said Ms Cheung, explaining she had her own savings and had received financial support from her family in Indonesia. 'I had never worried about money,' she said. 'Po-ko had a few jobs since he graduated. He had work experience in an investment company and he had savings. I am not surprised that he had such a sum of money.' Mr Luk asked Ms Cheung if Tsui had revealed the source of the extra HK$200,000 deposited in 2005. 'He need not to explain to me and I did not need to ask him,' she said. The coroner reminded Ms Cheung she might incriminate herself in the offence of handling stolen property by saying whether she was told by Tsui why he gave her the money. 'You have a choice to answer or not to answer,' he said. 'Not to answer,' she replied. She also said she was unclear about the four transactions made via the account between February and August.