Five years sought for 'sacrificial lamb' Ho

Top News | Staff reporter 20 Mar 2019

The prosecution has called for the former Hong Kong secretary for home affairs, Patrick Ho Chi-ping, to be jailed for five years and fined US$400,000 (HK$3.12 million) for his offenses.

In an e-mail submitted by the prosecution in New York, Ho described himself as "the first of the sacrificial lambs" amid Sino-US hostility after he learned that Huawei chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou had been arrested.

Ho, 69, was found guilty in December on seven of eight charges, including bribery and money laundering over oil rights for private Chinese conglomerate CEFC China Energy in Chad and Uganda.

The court is scheduled to sentence Ho - who faces up to 65 years in prison - on Monday.

The prosecution said the suggested sentence to the New York Southern District Court was made after considering factors including his age, background and the nature of the crime.

In a written submission to the court, the prosecution said Ho's offenses were serious, and the evidence showed he used a charity as a cover for bribing senior officials in Chad and Uganda to obtain more wealth and power for CEFC and for himself.

"Hiding behind and misusing a nongovernmental organization, registered as a charity, that he purportedly operated to promote international diplomacy and energy security, the defendant orchestrated and executed two different schemes to offer and pay bribes to senior public officials in both Chad and Uganda," the written submission by the prosecution said. "He executed those schemes over time. He offered and paid bribes in multiple ways. And when he was caught, he claimed that he was an innocent humanitarian, whose arrest was both political and wrongful. It was neither."

Earlier, Ho's lawyers said he had been remanded for 16 months and should be released immediately. But the prosecution said a substantial sentence should be imposed.

Ho also e-mailed his wife, former actress Sibelle Hu Hui-chung, saying he is prepared for the worst and telling her to do the same.

He also asked his wife to tell their daughter that he is "an honest man" and hoped "she will not feel ashamed of me."

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