Carson Yeung loses final appeal, returned to jail

Local | Adeline Mak 12 Jul 2016

Former Birmingham City Football Club chairman Carson Yeung Ka-sing yesterday lost his appeal in Hong Kong's top court against his conviction and six-year prison sentence for money laundering, and was immediately returned to jail.

The 56-year-old hairdresser-turned- businessman was sentenced to six years in March 2014 on five charges involving the laundering of HK$721 million. He had been released on bail last August to challenge the rejection of his earlier appeal against his original conviction by the District Court.

Dressed in a black suit with a red tie, Yeung waved to reporters on his way to the court building. He smiled, but did not reply when asked if he felt confident of winning his case.

In the dock, Yeung crossed his arms and appeared anxious.

Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li said: "For reasons contained in the judgment, Yeung's appeal was dismissed. Yeung has to serve his remaining sentence in jail."

Yeung appeared disappointed and looked over at his family before being taken away by court officers. His wife and son, who looked sad, left the courtroom without making any comment.

Yeung had argued the prosecution needed to prove his money transactions actually involved proceeds from crime, and that the court judge needed to make findings on his reasonable belief even after his evidence was rejected.

However, the Court of Final Appeal judgment -- handed down by a five- member panel -- stated that it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove the proceeds being dealt with were in fact the proceeds of an indictable offence.

The judges said the strong policy reason behind this is because the offense is likely to have taken place in foreign jurisdictions -- not susceptible to proof in Hong Kong -- and the proceeds are likely to have passed through various layers and transformation for concealment.

"It is sufficient for the prosecution to establish that...the defendant had reasonable grounds to believe it represented the proceeds of someone's indictable offence," the judgment stated.

An inflatable passageway was used when Yeung, his face covered by a hat, got on a prison van outside the courthouse. The Correctional Services Department said it protects prisoners' privacy with reasonable measures, and the inflatable passageway is used at the Court of Final Appeal because of its unique design.

Yeung has to serve more than four years of his remaining sentence.

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