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Former Hong Kong official Wilson Fung and businesswoman Cheyenne Chan cleared of bribery at District Court

South China Morning Post logo South China Morning Post 14/8/2019 Jasmine Siu

A married former Hong Kong official and the sister-in-law of gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun have been cleared of bribery over an initial deposit on a flat 15 years ago, with the judge accepting they were having an affair at the time of the payment.

Wilson Fung Wing-yip, 55, was on Wednesday found not guilty of accepting an advantage while in public office from businesswoman Cheyenne Chan Ung-iok, 63, who was cleared of offering an advantage to a public servant.

He was awaiting the verdict on another charge of misconduct in public office for failing to declare an obvious conflict of interest to the government.

a person sitting at a table in front of a curtain: Wilson Fung and Cheyenne Chan, pictured in Macau in 2003, said they were in love for years, a claim the judge accepted as he acquitted them both of bribery. Photo: Handout © Handout Wilson Fung and Cheyenne Chan, pictured in Macau in 2003, said they were in love for years, a claim the judge accepted as he acquitted them both of bribery. Photo: Handout

The case centred on Chan’s settling of an initial HK$510,000 (US$65,000) deposit on a flat bought by Fung, while he held a senior government post in economic development.

District judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong found they had been in genuine love since December 10, 2003.

He also found it possible the pair had an agreement to use the profits Fung helped Chan earn from another property transaction to offset the HK$510,000 he owed her, as the defence had argued, meaning the court could not be sure that the payment was related to his public office.

Fung licked his lips upon hearing his acquittal while Chan mouthed a “thank you” to her defence lawyers.

The pair were then seen turning towards each other, smiling in the dock.

The payment was made at the height of Fung’s political career while he was deputy secretary for economic development and labour in charge of sensitive decisions on valuable air traffic rights and other aviation-related policies between April 2003 and July 2006.

a man and a woman looking at the camera: Cheyenne Chan, pictured in May, was cleared of bribery by a District Court judge on Wednesday. Photo: Winson Wong © Winson Wong Cheyenne Chan, pictured in May, was cleared of bribery by a District Court judge on Wednesday. Photo: Winson Wong

The District Court heard Fung accepted HK$510,000 from Chan on September 28, 2004, but did not declare it to the government while handling applications from her companies, which included HK Express’ bids for new routes to Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

At trial, both defendants testified to being in a secret affair from December 2003 to April 2016 while their lawyers argued the HK$510,000 had nothing to do with Fung's public office.

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. 

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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