Bribery hearing told of copter firm boost in exchange for flat deposit

Top News | Phoenix Un 21 May 2019

Former senior civil servant Wilson Fung Wing-yip agreed and endorsed all eight applications that a helicopter company owner filed, the District Court heard on the first day of a trial accusing him of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from a Macau businesswoman.

Fung, former deputy secretary of the Economic Development and Labour Bureau, was alleged to have received HK$510,000 from Cheyenne Chan Ung-iok, sister of casino king Stanley Ho Hung-sun's wife Ina Chan Un-chan.

Chan, a former director and shareholder at three companies - Helicopters Hong Kong, Hong Kong Express Airways and Heli Express - is on trial together with Fung, who allegedly used the money as part of a deposit on a luxury flat in Mid-Levels.

The prosecutor said Fung, who was a deputy secretary of economic development, failed to declare a conflict of interest and acted in a manner that was favorable to Chan's companies over a three-year period.

The court heard that on September 28, 2004, Fung, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, accepted HK$510,000 from Chan, being the initial deposit for the purchase of the property at One Robinson Place representing a gift, loan, fee, reward or commission, for Fung being or remaining favorably disposed to Chan and the three companies.

The court heard that Fung, from September 1, 2004 to July 9, 2006, willfully misconducted himself by accepting the money and concealing from, or failing to declare, to the government his dealings and negotiations with Chan, failed to declare a conflict of interest in handling of the applications of the three companies, and failed to abstain from the deliberation and decision making of the applications.

Chan is accused of offering an advantage to Fung without legal authority or reasonable excuse.

Fung pleaded not guilty to one count of a public servant accepting an advantage and another count of misconduct in public office, while Chan denied one count of offering an advantage to a public servant.

The prosecution told Justice Douglas Yau Tak-hong that Fung joined the government in 1985 and, at the peak of his career in 2003, was the deputy secretary of the Economic Development and Labour Bureau, responsible for negotiation in aviation services and construction of infrastructure.

The prosecution said Chan, on behalf of Fung, had signed a provisional agreement to buy a HK$10.2 million flat on One Robinson Road. She also made a check for HK$510,000 as deposit.

The prosecution said later the three helicopter companies filed eight applications to the government from 2003 to 2006, including the allocation of helicopter routes, expansion plan of the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal heliport, extension of helicopter services to Pearl River Delta and rent of West Kowloon heliport, to which Fung "agreed."

But law enforcement bodies found that the recommendation involved legal disputes so they opposed them, the prosecution said.

The prosecution said Fung, as a senior civil servant, should know the meaning of conflict of interests, yet he still allowed himself to have private dealings with Chan, the prosecution said. The trial has been set for five days. Both the prosecution and defendants have agreed to call only 13 witnesses. Fung and Chan were allowed to sit behind their lawyers instead of in the defendant's box. The hearings continue today.

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