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Hong Kong courts

Police sergeant threatened to ‘mess with’ unlicensed massage parlour if owner refused to sell up on cheap, Hong Kong court told

Station sergeant Cheung Ka-fai denies two counts of misconduct in public office

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2018, 8:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 October, 2018, 11:03pm

A police sergeant exploited his rank and threatened to “mess with” an unlicensed massage parlour after its owner refused to negotiate on the sale price of the business, a Hong Kong court heard on Wednesday.

Station sergeant Cheung Ka-fai, 50, vowed to bring trouble upon Lok Chuk Lok, a massage shop in Kowloon City, when owner Liao Xiuli refused to sell her establishment at a reduced price to a potential buyer in 2014, the District Court heard.

He demanded Liao hand back a non-refundable HK$5,000 (US$641) deposit if she was not willing to sell.

Although Cheung denied knowing potential buyer Wang Chuanlan, he turned up at the parlour just days after Liao refused to budge on the price, the court heard.

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The sergeant denied two counts of misconduct in public office.

Cheung was posted to the miscellaneous investigation sub-unit in Kowloon City district at the time.

“You’re still in operation? I’m going to mess with you,” he threatened Liao on one occasion, the court heard.

On Wednesday, Liao took to the witness box to testify against Cheung. She said she decided to sell Lok Chuk Lok around March 2014 after having trouble sustaining the business. Liao set the price at HK$128,000 and told Wang she would not budge on it, she recalled.

Wang then paid a deposit of HK$5,000 and was told she would not get the money back if she dropped out of the deal.

But later Wang haggled for a cheaper deal and demanded the deposit back if Liao refused to adjust her price, telling the owner her family had connections with civil servants and policemen.

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Wang reported Liao to police and three days later, on March 18, 2014, Cheung turned up at the parlour to repeat her demands, prosecutor Wong Hay-yiu said in his opening speech on Wednesday. Cheung left angrily after a stranger stepped in to help Liao.

Cheung returned a week later with a colleague to inspect the parlour. It was on that visit he threatened to mess with Liao’s business, the court was told.

Computer records showed Cheung accessed the complaints Wang made against the shop in March, the prosecutor said.

Cheung was arrested on October 29, 2015. He said he did not know Wang.

The trial continues before deputy judge Charles Chan.