Hong Kong former official, property tycoon guilty in graft case

Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:10am EST
 
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By Yimou Lee and Lizzie Ko

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A former top Hong Kong civil servant was found guilty on Friday of accepting HK$8.5 million ($1.1 million) in bribes from executives of property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd 0016.HK, in the city's highest profile corruption case.

The jury of six women and three men reached their verdicts after deliberating for five days following a trial that exposed the cozy relationship between the city's powerful developers and government in the former British colony.

Rafael Hui, 66, who headed Hong Kong's civil service from 2005 to 2007, was found guilty of three counts of misconduct in public office and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct. He had faced eight charges related to bribery and misconduct in public office, all of which he denied.

Raymond Kwok, 62, co-chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties, the city's largest developer, was cleared of all charges.

But his brother and fellow co-chairman, billionaire Thomas Kwok, 63, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. He had pleaded not guilty to that and two other charges.

Raymond said he was happy he had been proved innocent although he was sad for his brother.

"We'll continue to support Kwok Ping-kwong and his family," he said, referring to his brother.

Thomas Kwok, who resigned as chairman, managing director and executive director with immediate effect, will appeal against his conviction, the property developer said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.   Continued...

 
Raymond Kwok, co-chairman of developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, walks into the High Court in Hong Kong May 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Bobby Yip