Date
23 September 2017
Rafael Hui says he maintained a luxury lifestyle after leaving the government as he believed he could reap big gains from two China business projects, which eventually failed to take off. Photo: HKEJ
Rafael Hui says he maintained a luxury lifestyle after leaving the government as he believed he could reap big gains from two China business projects, which eventually failed to take off. Photo: HKEJ

Rafael Hui admits to affair with young woman from Shanghai

Hong Kong’s former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan admitted that he gave HK$7 million to HK$8 million to a young woman from Shanghai with whom he had an “intimate” relationship.

Hui told a local court Monday that he sometimes met the woman in Hong Kong and sometimes in Beijing. The money was given in 2008 and in the one or two years that followed, he said, according to RTHK.

Some of the money was given to the woman for buying property while some was for investments, he said, adding that he also gave the woman some gifts like bags and watches.

Hui said he was leading a luxury lifestyle and blindly buying things after he left the government in 2000 as he thought he would cover those expenses with gains from two business projects in China. However, the projects were later scrapped due to some ownership disputes.

On one occasion, he had spent up to HK$210,000 in a French restaurant in Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong. He would hold up to three private banquets each month to gather with friends after becoming chief secretary. He would pay for 6 or 7 out of 10 meals, and each meal would cost over HK$20,000, the court was told.

Also, he had spent a huge amount for purchasing wines. Some creditors are said to have estimated the value of his wine stock at around HK$7 million. But Hui said the value has been underestimated, based on his rough calculation.

Hui would treat his guests to horse racing events after he became a steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. The cost on each person is said to be HK$2,000 to HK$3,000, excluding drinks.

He also admitted lavish spending in Beijing from time to time after he was named as a Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

Although the central government would offer meals and accommodation for attending NPC meetings, Hui said he would usually book hotels, and have meals, on his own.

Hui was testifying in a court that is hearing an anti-corruption case linked to Sun Hung Kai Properties. The former top official is suspected to have granted some favors to the property developer in exchange for some benefits.

Among other revelations in the court, Hui said he had often converted large sums of money into yuan before each trip to Beijing, as he would host many banquets in order to build relationships in the mainland. The forex transactions were said to have been handled by Francis Kwan Hung-sang, a longtime friend of Hui.

Kwan is among the suspects that were charged by Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency in the probe against Sun Hung Kai Properties.

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JZ/JP/RC

Freelance journalist

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