|(SHKP trial) 'Black eye' for Hong Kong: analyst
(11 mins ago)
The bribery case has stunned Hong Kong, where Sun Hung Kai is the biggest property developer by market capitalization and owns some of the city's most recognizable real estate including the 118-floor International Commerce Center.
The two brothers are ranked 62 on the Forbes rich list and are worth an estimated $14.45 billion dollars.
"It's a big black eye for the integrity of Hong Kong,'' said Francis Lun Sheung-nim, a financial analyst and CEO of Hong Kong-based Geo Securities.
"The last thing you would expect is corruption at the top,'' he told AFP, adding that the city has had a well established anti-graft body since the 1970s.
"I suspect this isn't an isolated case, there must be other big business eying into the government too,'' he said.
The trial also came as resentment in the city grows over the perceived cosy relationship between the government and the business elite -- one of the themes of the pro-democracy movement which gripped Hong Kong in recent months.
The southern Chinese city is seen as relatively graft-free -- it was ranked the joint 15th cleanest country or territory in 2013 by global corruption watchdog Transparency International.
However, the arrests have revived discussion on links between wealthy tycoons and officials in the Asian financial center that have long raised public suspicion.
Former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen ended his term in disgrace in June 2012 after admitting to accepting gifts from tycoons in the form of trips on luxury yachts and private jets.
And Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau Luen-hung was in March found guilty of bribing a former minister in the gambling enclave of Macau in an attempt to purchase a prime development site in the former Portuguese colony.
Kwok and Hui, who had been on bail, have been remanded in custody until Monday when the court will reconvene for further arguments before the sentence is handed down.
The charge they were both found guilty of carries a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment. --AFP