Corruption in China

Disgraced ex-chief of state-owned China Resources Charley Song Lin stripped of Hong Kong civic honour after corruption conviction by Guangzhou court

Song, serving 14 years in jail for embezzling public assets worth more than 9.74 million yuan, has justice of the peace title revoked

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 5:23pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2018, 10:36pm

A former chairman of state-owned China Resources was stripped of his justice of the peace title by the Hong Kong government on Friday, months after the disgraced businessman was thrown behind bars for corruption.

Charley Song Lin was sentenced to 14 years in jail and fined 4 million yuan (US$628,000) by a Guangzhou court last June after he pleaded guilty to embezzling public assets worth more than 9.74 million yuan, and receiving property, shares and benefits worth 23.3 million yuan between 2004 and 2013.

A notice published in the government gazette said Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had revoked the appointment as of Friday.

The title is given to those who have made a significant contribution to Hong Kong society. The main duties include visiting prisons and other detention centres as well as administering statutory declarations and serving on advisory panels.

However, Article 6 of the Justices of the Peace Ordinance states the city’s chief executive can withdraw the title in a number of circumstances, including when a recipient has been jailed.

Song, who joined China Resources in 1985 and rose through the ranks to become chairman in 2008, was one of the most senior Hong Kong-based bosses of a state firm to be prosecuted by mainland Chinese authorities since 1997.

He was detained in 2014 and held for more than two years without charge. He was finally charged in 2016 with abusing his position at China Resources between 2004 and 2013 to obtain 9.74 million yuan in illicit gains.

Former China Resources chairman Song Lin pleads guilty to corruption

Song once headed the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association, which held 16 votes on the 1,200-member committee which picks the city’s leader. In 2012 he endorsed Leung Chun-ying for the top job, and the following year was appointed by Leung’s government to several top advisory positions. These included leading an ethics development advisory committee under the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Hong Kong’s graft watchdog, and membership of the Economic Development Commission. He was made a justice of the peace in the same year.

His titles on two official advisory boards have already been revoked.

In February the government stripped former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan and property tycoon Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong – both jailed for graft in 2014 – of their civic honours. Hui had been given Hong Kong’s highest honour – the Grand Bauhinia Medal – in 2007, while Kwok, the former co-chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, had received the Silver Bauhinia Star that same year.