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Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 11:17

Court releases Thomas Kwok on HK$10m bail

By Shadow Li in Hong Kong
Court releases Thomas Kwok on HK$10m bail
Former Sun Hung Kai Properties joint chairman Thomas Kowk leaves the Court of Final Appeal in Hong Kong on July 12, 2016. ( Roy Liu/China Daily)

The Court of Final Appeal (CFA)on Tuesday granted bail for real estate tycoon Thomas Kwok Ping kwong, former joint chairman and managing director of the city’s largest property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), as he awaits his final appeal against corruption charges on May 9,2017.

Kwok became the only one of the four defendant s to be released on bail in one of the city’s most high-profile bribery cases.

In leaving the court house, Kwok, accompanied by his son Adam Kwok Kai fai, said he will not resume his post at SHKP and first plans to get his grey hair dyed.

Released on a cash bail of HK$10million, Thomas Kwok said he has learned in prison that he should treasure what he has. Thomas Kwok, 64, was convicted of conspiring with the city’s former chief secretary for administration Rafael Hui Si-yan of committing misconduct in public office and was sentenced to five years in prison in December 2014. Hui, 68, was convicted of five counts for taking almost HK$19.7million in bribes and committing misconduct in public office. Hui was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail.

Former executive director of SHKP Thomas Chan Kui yuen was sentenced to six years in jail, and ex-chief operations officer of Hong Kong Futures Exchange Francis Kwan Hung-sang got five years in prison, for their roles in the bribery case.

The CFA allowed the four defendants’ appeal of one charge — conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office —after hearing their submissions against their own convictions. Their bids to overthrow other earlier convictions against them were rejected by the court.

All defendants are set to argue whether accepting payments before assuming public office will constitute giving favorable treatment before the CFA in May next year.

The bail petitions of Chan and Kwan as well as their appeals against their convictions for conspiracy to offer an advantage to a public servant were denied by the three strong panel of judges.

The court ruled that Chan and Kwan will have to finish their jail terms for their remaining charge—conspiracy to offer an advantage to a public servant — and apply for bail afterwards.

Hui, appearing to have lost considerable weight compared with his  last public appearance, didn’t apply for bail.

Earlier in February, the Court of Appeal dismissed the four’s appeal bids against their bribery and public misconduct convictions.

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