Kevin B. Egan, a prominent Hong Kong barrister who had lived and worked in the city for more than three decades, died of cancer on Sunday. He was 70.
Andrew Lam Ping-cheung, a solicitor and one of Egan’s friends, said Egan had been battling with esophageal cancer, for which he had taken chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The treatment had helped his condition turn better, but a relapse occurred earlier this month and led him to undergo an operation. He collapsed at home on Sunday night and was rushed to Queen Mary Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Lam said.
After being called to the bar in the United Kingdom in 1972, Egan, an Australian, immigrated to Hong Kong in 1981. He joined the Department of Justice and later rose to become Deputy Principal Crown Counsel.
He earned fame while working closely with the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and prosecuting multiple cases that once caused a public sensation.
After he changed his career path to private practice in 1990, he mainly represented defendants prosecuted by the ICAC instead.
He helped some of them win, including former beauty queen Elsie Chan Yik-zee in a land fraud case. His victories in these cases made him one of the city’s most famous criminal lawyers and known to many as “ICAC nemesis”.
After being accused of attempting to disclose the identity of a witness to a reporter, Egan was sentenced to a 30-month jail term in 2006. His conviction was later overturned on appeal.
The last time Egan was in the media spotlight was when a mainland woman ran into trouble after taking photos inside the courtroom during a trial earlier this month. She was eventually sentenced to seven days in jail.
The woman claimed that Egan had agreed to represent her, but Egan denied this and told the High Court he just offered her some advice out of sympathy.
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