China Resources (Holdings)

Former China Resources chairman Song Lin pleads guilty to corruption

Song served on several advisory bodies in Hong Kong, including an ethics committee under the ICAC

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 February, 2017, 2:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 February, 2017, 11:22pm

The former Hong Kong chief of a massive mainland state firm has pleaded guilty to corruption and embezzlement involving more than 33 million yuan (US$4.8 million).

Former China Resources Group chairman Charley Song Lin entered the plea in a one-day ­hearing in the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court amid tight security on Monday.

Song Lin, former chairman of China Resources, is formally charged with corruption

Song is one of the most senior Hong Kong-based bosses of a state firm to be prosecuted by mainland authorities since the handover in 1997. China Resources was 91 on ­Fortune magazine’s list of the world’s 500 biggest companies by revenue last year.

Song was detained in 2014 and held for more than two years without charge. He was finally charged late last year with abusing his position at China Resources between 2004 and 2013 to make 9.74 million yuan in illicit gains.

He was also accused of taking more than 23 million yuan in bribes between 2005 and 2012 from Jinhui, an investment company, and Wang Hongkun, former executive director of China Resources Land, who was also detained. In return, Song would offer promotions and grant approvals for projects, according to mainland media reports.

A verdict will be handed down at a later date.

Guangzhou residents said security was particularly tight at the court from early in the morning, with more than a dozen police vehicles lined up and parked outside the court entrance, which was also blocked by barricades.

Plain-clothes officers guarded nearby street corners and even back alleyways.

A court press officer said only selected media were allowed into the hearing.

In 2013, Song was appointed by the present Hong Kong administration to several top advisory positions, including head of the ethics development advisory committee under the Independent Commission Against Corruption, as well as a member of the Economic Development Commission.

He was also appointed a Justice of the Peace that year.

Song became the target of corruption allegations in 2013 when two mainland journalists wrote a series of reports online.

But no action was taken until an online report surfaced in April 2014, accusing him of having an extramarital affair with a senior investment banker.

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Song, whose position at China Resources was equivalent to that of a vice-minister, was detained on the mainland that month by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s anti-graft agency.

Several serving and former senior executives of the company were also later investigated for suspected corruption.

Mainland authorities wrapped up the investigation into Song in December.

Additional reporting by Choi Chi-yuk