Former chief secretary Rafael Hui told the High Court on Friday that he was used to spending his entire salary and sometimes overspent by using credit cards, RTHK reported.
Taking the witness stand for the first time in his trial on bribery charges, Hui said he had debts before he left the government in 2000, most of which was due to personal expenses instead of investment losses.
He said as a civil servant, he always had a negative bank account and sometimes took out bank loans to pay his taxes.
He said he bought CDs for HK$200,000 in a single day and spent a total of HK$2 million at a CD shop.
In the 1990s, Hui spent HK$300,000 on a trip to Europe. He also spent more than HK$100,000 on a trip to Japan after he joined the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority in 2000.
Hui received a one-off pension of HK$8.2 million from the government in the 2002/03 financial year and a pension of HK$600,000 annually.
However, he denied accusations that he had provided benefit to the Kwok brothers and Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SHKP) during his term as the city’s second highest official.
Hui said the HK$8.5 million he received from SHKP days before his appointment as chief secretary in 2005, was part of the payment for his consultancy work for the property developer between 2004 and 2005.
The amount was sent to his account through two middlemen to hide the fact that it came from Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, who was said to have caused problems for the Kwok family, Hui quoted another brother as saying.
Hui denied allegations that he received millions of dollars to be the company’s “eyes and ears” in the government, the report said.
He also denied having lived “rent-free” in two luxury flats in Leighton Hill provided by the Kwok brothers, saying that the accommodation was part of the remuneration package the developer agreed to provide for his consultancy work.
Hui was accused of living in the flats for free while he was still managing director of the MPF Schemes Authority. But Hui said everyone has the right to choose where to live, and does not need to disclose it to the authorities.
The former official was also accused of hiding the information that he had received unsecured loans worth HK$3 million from SHKP during his term as chief secretary, but Hui explained that major officials are allowed to apply for such loans from licensed financial institutions, and don’t need to disclose such information.
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