Is former Urban Council chairman Ronald Leung Ding-bong, as he claims, a helpless old man whose bank unfairly refused to sell his plummeting investments? Or should the 75-year-old be liable to pay Citibank almost HK$10 million in stock market losses? The answer to those questions must be examined at a civil trial, Mr Justice Andrew Cheung Kui-nung ruled yesterday, as he rejected Citibank's request for summary judgment against the retired politician. The bank argued yesterday that Dr Leung had no defence to a writ that it filed against him in December. But the Court of First Instance judge disagreed, saying there were questions about a series of telephone conversations between Citibank and Dr Leung. At issue was whether the four conversations on October 27 last year amounted to firm instructions from him to unload his margin accounts as equity markets tanked. Dr Leung claimed that if the bank had sold his investments that morning there would have been no deficit, and no lawsuit to recoup a HK$9.7 million shortfall in his accounts. But Citibank's barrister Jonathan Chang said Dr Leung waffled on the sale, and asked how much it would cost him before proceeding. Someone who buys on margin borrows money from a broker to purchase stocks. In this case, the bank called in Dr Leung's loan. Yesterday, Mr Justice Cheung questioned why the bank had allegedly told Dr Leung that he would have to come up with cash before it would sell his investments. The judge also asked why Citibank had told Dr Leung that it needed to find an outside buyer for the investment contracts, but ended up buying back the holdings itself. 'He kept saying: 'You are the experts,' Mr Justice Cheung said. ''Isn't the ball in your court?' What should he do - 'the contracts are in your hands' - call the police?' Another bank honoured Dr Leung's sell instructions during the same period, the judge noted. 'He kept saying he was going to die, he was sick, he was a poor man,' Mr Justice Cheung said. 'He is saying to the bank: 'Do whatever you want to do - I just want to close my accounts.' In my view, it is arguably plain that he gave firm instructions.' The judge added that he was not offering an opinion about what verdict a trial judge should ultimately reach. Citibank, he said, might have reasonable answers to his questions, '[but] I have come to the firm conclusion that there are triable issues'. About one year before the investment dispute, Dr Leung successfully fought off three unidentified kidnappers at his Causeway Bay office. The trio fled when the septuagenarian bit off one of his attacker's fingertips. Deputy High Court Judge Peter Line later praised Dr Leung for his 'remarkable bravery'. Brandi Chiang Sai-wah, 48, the brother of a former Kowloon City district councillor, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for masterminding the crime. Dr Leung is dubbed 'Dr Toilet' because of his past campaigns for clean public lavatories.