Carson Yeung

Carson Yeung freed on bail after Hong Kong court allows him to appeal dirty-money conviction

Former Birmingham City boss released on HK$7 million bail and cash surety of HK$6 million, told to surrender travel documents

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 August, 2015, 11:37am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 August, 2015, 2:38am

Convicted money launderer and former English Premier League soccer chairman Carson Yeung Ka-sing was freed from jail today after Hong Kong’s top court granted him the right to challenge his conviction.

Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li released the ex-Birmingham City owner on HK$7 million bail and cash surety of HK$6 million, and ordered the hairdresser-turned-businessman to surrender his travel documents and not leave Hong Kong.

The decision came four months after the businessman, who was jailed in March last year, lost an earlier application to challenge his conviction in the Court of Appeal, and it means he is no longer behind bars in maximum-security Stanley Prison.

As a condition of his release, Yeung must report to the police station at The Peak three times a week.

Ma said he granted Yeung leave to appeal based on legal questions raised in written submissions by barrister Clare Montgomery QC. His appeal hearing is slated for May 31 next year.

After being granted bail, Yeung was held up at the Court of Final Appeal building for almost eight hours due to administrative procedures before leaving with his wife, lawyer and aides.

"[I keep] a peaceful mind, and thank God," a grey-haired Yeung told the jostling media waiting outside the building.

His wife, Joanna Wang Man-li, said the first thing the couple would do was go home. Wang burst into tears inside the courtroom when she learned of Ma's decision yesterday morning.

Yeung's lawyer and aides were seen walking in and out of the court building throughout the day to prepare documents for his bail. They said they faced no problem raising the bail money for Yeung, who in 2009 bought Birmingham City. The team now play in the second-tier English Championship after relegation from the Premier League in 2011.

Yeung's camp said it took time for the court to handle the paperwork and inform relevant authorities, such as the police and immigration, of his release.

In March last year, Yeung was jailed for six years on five charges of laundering HK$721 million through five bank accounts at Wing Lung Bank and HSBC between 2001 and 2007.

During his trial, the court heard that from 2001 various parties made deposits into the accounts, many for no apparent reason. Some were made by securities firms and a Macau casino while others were made by unknown parties. More than 400 deposits, totalling over HK$97 million, were made in cash.

The court heard Yeung once reported earning nothing for five years, but his income later shot up by a factor of 300 in only seven years.

Accounting experts investigated tens of millions of dollars in cheques deposited by Macau casino bosses.