Financially struggling broadcaster ATV and its former executive director, James Shing Pan-yu, must pay HK$1.3 million for seriously defaming media tycoon Ricky Wong Wai-kay and his television company in the media, the High Court ruled. In his lawsuit, Wong claimed Shing accused him wrongfully and repeatedly of removing confidential financial documents from ATV during his 12-day service in 2008, and of using the information to apply for a free-television licence for Wong's Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) in 2009. READ MORE: Hong Kong entrepreneur Ricky Wong says ATV and former executive defamed him by claiming he stole information ahead of licence bid "The libel in this action is no doubt serious: the said statements impute on the plaintiffs' conduct, which can both be dishonourable as well as criminal," Mr Justice Andrew Chung On-tak wrote in his judgment yesterday. "What makes this libel more serious is that the defendants persisted in publishing it." The judge ruled both Shing and ATV had defamed Wong and HKTV. But Wong could not prove the libel statements led to his failed licence application, Chung said, awarding the tycoon and HKTV only HK$1.3 million out of the HK$3 million compensation he had sought. A spokesman for HKTV said the company would ask for payment of the sum and legal costs from the defendants. An ATV spokesman said the station would seek legal advice. Earlier, the court heard Wong served as ATV chief executive from December 4 to 15 in 2008, while Shing joined in March 2010. But it was not until November 24, 2012, that Shing publicly complained of the alleged loss of the documents. Wong denied the claim straightaway, but Shing repeated a similar statement at a media conference two days later. ATV failed to provide records in the current lawsuit to back Shing's words. Chung said ATV and Shing could not show the statement had been made based on factual materials and decided it was not a fair comment.