Bribery trial: Fung and Chan were 'like a married couple'

May 28, 2019 16:26
After hearing the testimony, the District Court judge said there's a case for defendants Wilson Fung and Cheyenne Chan to answer. Photo: HKEJ

The District Court hearing the bribery case involving former government official Wilson Fung Wing-yip and Macau businesswoman Cheyenne Chan Ung-iok was told that the two defendants had been having a romantic relationship – "like that of a married couple" – that lasted for more than a decade.

Fung, who was deputy secretary for economic development and labor from 2003 to 2006, has been charged with accepting an advantage and misconduct in public office, while Chan, former director and shareholder of three airline and helicopter companies, is charged with offering an advantage to a public servant.

Fung was executive director of corporate development of the Airport Authority when he was charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in 2018 with accepting HK$510,000 in September 2004 from Chan.

It has been reported by media that Chan, who is a sister-in-law of Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun, gave the money to Fung to help him buy a luxury flat in Mid-Levels in 2004.

The prosecution has said Fung not only failed to declare a conflict of interest but also acted in a manner favorable to Chan’s companies over a three-year period between 2004 and 2006.

Taking the witness stand for the prosecution on Monday, Albert Lee King-shing, ICAC’s principal investigator in the case, told the court that Fung revealed in 2016 when making an oral statement that he and Chan had an intimate relationship “like that of a married couple” for more than a decade but he dared not tell his wife about it, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Fung is married to Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee, who currently heads the government’s Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office.

Fung told the ICAC that his relationship with Chan had nothing to do with their official dealings and that he had not favored anyone in his official capacity, Lee told the court.

After hearing the testimony, Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong ruled that there’s a case for Fung and Chan to answer.

In his defense, Fung said he did not know Chan was a director of several companies in the early days of their relationship and the two did not talk about work when they were together.

Chan was introduced to him by Ho’s nephew, then Helicopters Hong Kong chief executive Andrew Edward Tse, in 2003, Fung said.

According to Fung, he and Chan had traveled together to Macau and mainland China for 34 times and five times, respectively, in the 10 years from 2006 to 2016, and all they did during those trips were mainly dining and seeing the sights.

He stressed that he had never accepted any advantage from Chan nor did he assist her companies in return.

On Tuesday, Fung told the court that he learned Chan was executive director of Heli Express only in May 2005, or about one and a half years after they started their affair.

Fung said he later realized that Chan's business links could cause potential problems in future, so he decided to leave his government position.

He left the government at the end of 2006 and became executive director of the Hong Kong Productivity Council.

When asked by his lawyer whether he had ever abused his power when handling the applications from Chan’s companies and had betrayed his loyalty to the Hong Kong government, Fung said: "Absolutely not."

Fung reiterated that he did not think the HK$510,000 payment was a "sweetener".

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