Former HK official Wilson Fung guilty of misconduct in public office, but cleared of bribery along with businesswoman Cheyenne Chan

15-Aug-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A married former Hong Kong official and the sister-in-law of gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun have been cleared of bribery over an initial deposit on a flat 15 years ago, with the judge accepting they were having an affair at the time of the payment.

But Wilson Fung Wing-yip, 55, was on Wednesday found guilty of misconduct in public office for failing to declare an obvious conflict of interest to the government.

Fung was cleared of the charge of accepting an advantage while in public office from businesswoman Cheyenne Chan Ung-iok, 63, who was found not guilty of offering an advantage to a public servant.

The case centred on Chan’s settling of an initial HK$510,000 (US$65,000) deposit on a flat bought by Fung, while he held a senior government post in economic development.

District judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong found they had been in genuine love since December 10, 2003.

He also found it possible the pair had an agreement to use the profits Fung helped Chan earn from another property transaction to offset the HK$510,000 he owed her, as the defence had argued, meaning the court could not be sure that the payment was related to his public office.

Fung licked his lips upon hearing his bribery acquittal while Chan mouthed “thank you” to her defence lawyers.

The pair were then seen turning towards each other, smiling in the dock, before the guilty verdict against Fung was delivered.

Fung was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing on September 12. Misconduct in public office is punishable by up to seven years’ imprisonment.

The payment was made at the height of Fung’s political career while he was deputy secretary for economic development and labour in charge of sensitive decisions on valuable air traffic rights and other aviation-related policies between April 2003 and July 2006.

The District Court heard Fung accepted HK$510,000 from Chan on September 28, 2004, but did not declare it to the government while handling applications from her companies, which included HK Express’ bids for new routes to Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

At trial, both defendants testified to being in a secret affair from December 2003 to April 2016 while their lawyers argued the HK$510,000 had nothing to do with Fung’s public office.

The payment did not come to light until a local paper in April 2016 uncovered a scandal that was widely believed to have rocked the political career of Fung’s wife Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee, when she was accused of gaining an unfair advantage in swapping flats with Chan’s company, Wiseson.

League of Social Democrats chair Avery Ng Man-yuen, 42, filed a complaint to the Independent Commission Against Corruption a day after the news report, but Ng ended up being the subject of another case for revealing that Betty Fung was under investigation.

Ng was jailed for four months. He is currently on bail waiting for the top court to hear his application for leave to appeal.

In March 2018, Betty Fung was appointed head of the government’s new think tank, the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office.

The graftbusters brought charges against Wilson Fung and Chan five months later after concluding “there is insufficient evidence to prefer the prosecution against other persons involved in the investigation”.


Category: Hong Kong

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