Disgraced former Hong Kong minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping has landed in the city after serving his jail term in New York for a multimillion-dollar bribery plot involving top African leaders. Ho, 70, flew first from New York to Zurich, where he then boarded Swiss International Air Lines flight 138 to Hong Kong, crossing the city’s immigration checkpoint at about 8am on Wednesday. As with all arrivals, he was required to undergo a mandatory test for the coronavirus, a measure put in place months ago by the Hong Kong government to screen out imported Covid-19 cases. Patrick Ho planned to buy influence of US Republicans, court documents say The ophthalmologist turned politician, who was jailed for 36 months and fined US$400,000 (HK$3.1 million) last year, was deported from the United States after his release because his passport had expired. The former secretary for home affairs – who claimed he was “the first of the sacrificial lambs” caught up in the US-China trade war – was freed early after counting the 16 months he had spent behind bars before his conviction. His legal team previously said Ho could get a further reduction of five months for good behaviour. Ho was Hong Kong’s home affairs chief from 2002 to 2007. After his civil service career, he became the deputy secretary general of a think tank funded by the Shanghai-based oil conglomerate CEFC China Energy. In November 2017, he was arrested at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York. Jailed ex-Hong Kong official Patrick Ho released after finishing sentence He was subsequently put on trial, accused of offering US$2.9 million in bribes to Chadian President Idriss Déby, Senegalese diplomat Cheikh Gadio and Ugandan foreign minister Sam Kutesa. In December 2018, a federal jury found him guilty on seven of eight counts of bribery and money-laundering charges over oil rights for CEFC in Chad and Uganda. During the trial, defendant-turned-witness Gadio, the middleman in talks on oil rights between CEFC and Déby, testified that Ho offered US$2 million wrapped in gift boxes to the president during a visit to Chad in December 2014. Ho initially remained defiant in the face of the charges. Soon after his arrest, he said he was being used to “get to the big tiger”, and asked a friend to seek help from the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. After being found guilty, he said he was “the first of the sacrificial lambs of such hostility”. After being found guilty, he said he was “the first of the sacrificial lambs of such hostility”. Later, he would weep in the courtroom at his sentencing hearing, apologising and saying he accepted “complete responsibility”. Apart from China’s strategic expansion into Africa through private companies such as CEFC, the case also raised eyebrows over UN governance, with three officials linked to the incident.