Hong Kong courts

Court dismisses charges against pair who helped British snooker star Stephen Lee teach illegally in Hong Kong

Two local snooker players given order to be on good behaviour by court, three months after Lee was given a similar order

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 7:42pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 September, 2018, 7:42pm

Two Hong Kong men who aided and abetted British snooker star Stephen Lee in breaching his condition of stay in the city to offer coaching had their charges dismissed by a city court on Thursday.

Instead, the former Hong Kong professional snooker player Au Chi-wai, 48, and his business partner Alan Lam Chak-lun, 51, were bound over – an order to be on good behaviour – by acting principal magistrate Wong Sze-lai for 18 months on HK$2,000 (US$255).

The case was settled three months after Lee, 43, was similarly bound over for 12 months on HK$1,000 (US$127) after prosecutors dropped the breach of condition of stay charge against him.

Snooker star Stephen Lee charged for teaching without permit at Hong Kong billiards hall

Sha Tin Court heard Lee entered Hong Kong as a visitor on April 9 and was permitted to stay until October 6, with the condition that he would not take up any paid or unpaid employment, or join in any business.

But the Immigration Department soon learned that Lee was offering one-on-one snooker classes at Q School in Jordan from April 10 to 14 through an advertisement posted on social media.

An officer posed as a student and scheduled a class on April 12.

Prosecutors said the officer was approached by Lee and Au when he arrived at the billiards hall at about 5.15pm.

Lee asked the officer about his snooker skills, while Au indicated that the lesson would be recorded, so that he could have a copy of the video recording. Lam approached the group when Au needed help with his iPad.

Snooker star Stephen Lee to challenge accusation of being employed at time of Hong Kong arrest

The officer paid HK$1,000 and revealed the operation 50 minutes into his class.

Marked bills were seized from Lam after he and Au were intercepted.

Under caution, Au told investigators that Lee was a friend who came to provide coaching when he found out he opened a new billiards hall, while Lam admitted he was a shareholder of the company.

The Companies Registry revealed that both Au and Lam were directors and shareholders of Q School Limited.

Au and Lam were previously charged with two counts of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the breach of condition of stay.