Saturday, June 2, 2012, 00:00

Two more set free in Jockey Club fraud case

By Ming Yeung

Two more individuals accused in the Hong Kong Jockey Club membership fraud were released from the charges against them on Friday.

Daniel Tong, 63, director of GP Wedding Service Centre Ltd, was acquitted outright. A second accused, 83-year-old John Douglas Mackie, an independent non-executive director of Allied Group Limited, was discharged owing to his deteriorating health.

Eleven people, including four voting members of the club, originally were charged in connection with two jockey club membership scams last year.

Charged were Stanley Lawrence Freedman and John Douglas Mackie, both honorary voting members of the club; Dipo Chandiram Sani and David Ho Wai-tak, both voting members; Robert Ng Ka-ki, Daniel Tong Kam-pui and Ho Wai-shek, all members; along with Lam Wai-chee, Tang Kang-chung, Chan Wing-fai and To Wing.

Freedman, 84, and To, 64, will stand trial on August 20.

Counsel representing Freedman complained that the charges against his client were similar to those against Mackie but the charges against Freedman were not dropped, even though he has had cancer three times and now suffers from serious heart disease.

Prosecutors responded that the decision was made after thorough consideration.

To was arrested and charged last August on two counts of being an agent soliciting an advantage and one of conspiracy to defraud in mid-February and again on March 2, 2009. To is alleged to have solicited lai see of an unspecified sum, in repayment for supporting the application of a man who wanted to become a racing member of the club.

Between January and March 2009, prosecutors say To conspired with Freedman, David Ho and the applicant to defraud the club by falsely stating that the information in the applicants form was true.

In March, prosecutors had dropped charges against David Ho who became a prosecution witness, along with two other accused, Ho Wai-shek and Dipo Chandiram Sani.

On May 30, Robert Ng received a jail term of two and a half years, while his two associates Lam, 60, a clerk, and Tang, 50, a casual worker, were jailed for two years and three and a half years respectively.

The jockey clubs 200 voting members can nominate new members. They get five racing application forms and two full-membership forms each racing season.