Tsang Kai-wing dies aged 94 after 35 years as corruption fugitive

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2011, 12:00am

Tsang Kai-wing, father of veteran filmmaker Eric Tsang Chi-wai and a member of a gang of corrupt police officers in the 1960s, died in Taiwan yesterday. He was 94.

The former police officer died peacefully at Taipei Veterans General Hospital at about 6pm with his children and grandchildren at his bedside, the family said.

A vigil would be held in Hong Kong after February 17, the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, which marks the end of festivities

News that Tsang Kai-wing, who was also an uncle of former secretary for commerce and development Frederick Ma Si-hang, was critically ill had been circulating for a week.

Eric Tsang, who had been scheduled to be master of ceremonies for TVB's Jade Solid Gold Best 10 Music Awards ceremony on Saturday, rushed to Taiwan to see his father. He also abruptly left a film promotional tour in Singapore on Monday.

Tsang Kai-wing had served in the police force from 1940 to 1972, when he was a sergeant-major. He worked under the legendary 'HK$500 Million Sergeant' Lui Lok, named for the wealth he earned in bribes received during his time on the force. Liu died in Vancouver in May.

Lui was the most notorious among four corrupt staff sergeants at the time - the others were Hon Sum, Nan Kong and Ngan Hung. They were dubbed the 'Four Great Sergeants', or de facto commanders of the officers on the beat in the colonial force. Tsang was sentenced to three years in jail for corruption in 1975 but fled to Taiwan after filing an appeal.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption issued a warrant for his arrest on October 14, 1977.

In 2001, the Department of Justice seized his house in La Salle Road. It was sold for HK$4.35 million when it was auctioned in 2005 after 10 years of civil proceedings.

An ICAC spokeswoman said yesterday the anti-graft body had yet to learn more about Tsang's death. She said warrants on fugitives or wanted people would be valid until they were arrested or officially confirmed dead.

Tsang Sing-ming, deputy controller of external affairs at TVB, said the station sent its condolences to Eric Tsang and his family.