PCRD discloses links between Richard Li and appeals judge

Pacific Century Regional Developments, the majority shareholder of PCCW, yesterday disclosed that its chairman, Richard Li Tzar-kai, is an acquaintance of one of the judges that will hear the appeal against PCCW's privatisation.

However, the contacts between Mr Li and Mr Justice Anthony Rogers were limited and should not affect the judgment of the case, according to a letter issued by lawyers representing PCRD yesterday.

Arculli Fong & Ng, for PCRD, yesterday issued the letter in an attempt to clear the relations between Mr Li and Mr Justice Rogers, one of the three judges in the Court of Appeal's hearing next week. The other two are Mr Justice Peter Cheung Chak-yau and Mr Justice Aarif Barma.

'Although Mr Justice Rogers is acquainted with Mr Li, the only contacts Mr Li can recall so far are the following occasions: a party in September 2001 and a dinner gathering in March 2007,' the letter, written in Chinese, said.

The letter also said Mr Li had received a letter from Mr Justice Rogers regarding matters related to PCCW's Netvigator internet service in September 2007, followed by a telephone conversation a month later.

PCRD would not oppose Mr Justice Rogers' involvement in hearing the case next week, it said, adding that it also hoped other involved parties would confirm they would not oppose it.

A PCRD spokesman said the company did not want to have unnecessary delays to the hearing.

However, a source close to PCCW's minority shareholders said that by disclosing the link, PCRD might hope to stir up requests to replace Mr Justice Rogers, as he was the one who approved the stay on the implementation of the buyout deal on Monday.

'Our lawyers believed that PCRD wants to change the judge, and the letter PCRD issued is aimed at prompting us to agree with them,' said Chan Pang-ching, a minority shareholder who submitted his affidavit in the High Court hearing.

'We are advised that Mr Justice Rogers is a good judge and we believe he will demonstrate justice on the case. We are happy to have him hear the case next week.'

Mr Chan will submit a letter to the Court of Appeal next Tuesday for the judges to be retained.

Meanwhile, the Securities and Futures Commission submitted an additional document to the Court of Appeal yesterday listing the main points, including the legality of share splitting, to challenge the judgment made by High Court judge Madam Justice Susan Kwan Shuk-hing.