HK property tycoon sent to prison

Published: Tuesday 23rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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A Hong Kong court sentenced a billionaire property developer to five years in prison for corruption after a high-profile trial that galvanised public anger over the city’s elite.

The city’s justice department said the High Court sentenced Thomas Kwok after finding him guilty of conspiracy for making HK8.5 million dollars (£705,000) in payments to city official Rafael Hui.

The court also fined Kwok HK500,000 dollars (£41,062).

The court sentenced Hui to seven-and-a-half years in prison after convicting him of misconduct and conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, the Justice Department said. At the time of the offences, Hui was Hong Kong’s No 2 public official.

Kwok and his brother are joint chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties and have overseen the construction of some of the city’s landmark buildings.

Prosecutors alleged that the developers gave bribes in exchange for lucrative information on pending land sales. They later slightly revised the charges, dropping the bribery charge against brother Raymond Kwok.

The corruption scandal shocked the southern Chinese financial centre, where residents have traditionally revered the city’s tycoons.

But widening inequality, much of it linked to skyrocketing housing costs in the densely populated city, means that has given way in recent years to public anger at the billionaire class.

Two middlemen, Thomas Chan and Francis Kwan, were found guilty of conspiracy charges. The High Court sentenced Chan to six years in prison and Kwan to five years, the justice department said.

Published: Tuesday 23rd December 2014 by The News Editor

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