Property developer convicted of masterminding scam to delay deal

A property developer was convicted yesterday of conspiring with a repossession negotiator to make false affirmations in civil proceedings to try to frustrate a HK$14 million deal for a building in To Kwa Wan.

District Court Judge Bernard Whaley ruled that Chow Kit-kwong, director of Charmfar, was the mastermind behind the 1998 conspiracy.

Chow was found guilty of two charges of aiding and abetting a person to commit perjury and one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Under the scam, the negotiator, Philip Chan Man-kwong, arranged for rooftop resident Sin Yin-yat to claim the right to a hut at 44 Kowloon City Road so the completion of the deal could be delayed until a predicted fall in property prices.

According to testimony, Chow agreed to pay HK$14 million for the property in March 1998.

Three months later, Chan approached Sin, who agreed to move out of his rooftop hut for HK$260,000 in return for filing a claim of adverse possession against the vendor to try to frustrate the deal.

Chow promised to pay Sin HK$200,000 if the litigation was successful.

Sin falsely claimed in the writ that he had never given up his right to the hut, in which he had lived for more than 20 years. During litigation over the hut, Sin also falsely claimed that he had never received any compensation.

The vendor agreed to sell the property to Chan for only HK$8.3 million in October 2004.

Chow's sentencing was adjourned to October 23, pending a background report.

In June last year, Sin pleaded guilty in the District Court to two counts of perjury and one of forgery. His one-year jail sentence was suspended for two years.

Two months later, Chan was convicted of three charges and jailed for three years.