20 September 2019

SHKP considered hiring Norman Chan as consultant, court told

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) was said to have considered hiring Norman Chan, then deputy chief of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, as a consultant in 2002, but Walter Kwok, serving as chairman of the property developer, questioned the suggestion in a note to his younger brothers Thomas and Raymond Kwok, the Apple Daily reported on Tuesday.

The information was revealed during the trial of a corruption case involving the former chief secretary Rafael Hui and the Kwok brothers Thomas and Raymond.

In a handwritten note that was submitted to the court as evidence, Walter Kwok wanted to know if it was worth it to hire Chan as a consultant at an annual salary that was equivalent to one year of rental income of Hong Kong Plaza in the Western District, or two years of rental income at Kai Tak Mansion, or four months of rental income from Metroplaza in Kwai Fong, or three months of rental income from Royal Garden Hotel’s shopping arcade.  Chan is currently the HKMA chief executive.

Walter Kwok went on to compliment Raphael Hui as a strategic thinker that could benefit SHKP, while saying that he could not see the purpose and benefit of hiring Chan under a gloomy economic situation.

Ng Kit-yin, Walter Kwok’s former secretary, confirmed the handwriting on the note was Walter Kwok’s, but did not remember hearing any debate or argument within the Kwok family over the of hiring any government official to work for SHKP or the Kwok family.

Walter Kwok had been in discussion with Thomas Kwok over the hiring of Raphael Hui since July 2002. The eldest brother was said to have revised a HK$7 million amount on a piece of note to HK$7.5 million or HK$10 million, and revised the provision of two offices to one. He also required that Hui become a director of a subsidiary of the company.

Hui would require the consent of the Kwok brothers before he could take any job outside SHKP. In March 2003, Walter and Thomas Kwok agreed to discuss the matter over dinner at their mother’s home.

The discussions dragged on to August 2003 without a conclusion, when Walter Kwok went to the US for a major surgery. Ng said she did not remember if Walter Kwok changed his mind on hiring a consultant, but she confirmed that the executive did change his mind frequently without any apparent reason, the report said.

The trial continues.

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