Rafael Hui. Photo – Internet
• HK former chief secretary sentenced to 7.5 years for graft
By Wang Xiaoni
Hong Kong’s former chief secretary Rafael Hui was sentenced by the High Court on Tuesday of December 23 to seven-and-a-half years for corruption and misconduct convictions.
Hui was ordered to pay the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) a fine of 11.182 million HK dollars ( about 1.437 million U.S. dollars).
Hui was convicted of five counts of misconduct and corruption, making him the highest-ranking official in Hong Kong’s history found guilty of taking bribes.
Each count carries a maximum prison term of seven years, as well as a fine.
The judge said the ruling was made after considering mitigation arguments in court on Monday, including a plea of leniency from former chief executive Donald Tsang, for his ex-right-hand man.
Former vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong Tsui Lap- chee also wrote to the court, setting out many of Hui’s contributions to the society.
Sun Hung Kai Properties tycoon Thomas Kwok, 63, was jailed for five years and fined 500,000 HK dollars as he was found guilty of paying Hui 8.5 million HK dollars in bribes.
Another two middlemen involved in the scandal – Thomas Chan was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment and Francis Kwan five years.
Hui, born in 1948, is a former Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong and a former career civil servant. He was arrested in March 2012 by the Independent Commission Against Corruption on suspicion of corruption.
The trial of Hui and Kwok, which opened in early June, has been seen the most high-profile corruption trial in the history of the Hong Kong SAR.
• HK stocks close 0.32 pct lower
By Wang Xiaoni
Hong Kong stocks ended down 0.32 percent on Tuesday of December 23, with the benchmark Hang Seng index falling 74. 88 points to end at 23,333.69 points after trading between 23,269. 43 and 23,495.62.
Turnover totaled 78.03 billion HK dollars (about 10.03 billion U.S. dollars).
The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index fell 66.28 points, or 0. 56 percent, to close at 11,677.74.
Three sub-indices lost ground, with the Utility sub-index falling the most by 0.57 percent, followed by the Commerce and Industry 0.47 percent, the Finance 0.25 percent. The Properties closed flat.
Banking giant HSBC, which accounts for the largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, closed up 0.2 percent to 74.25 HK dollars, while its local unit Hang Seng Bank fell 0.5 percent to 127.70 HK dollars. Local bourse operator HKEX decreased 0.30 percent at 171. 50 HK dollars.
Local developers Hang Lung Properties lost 0.9 percent to 21.35 HK dollars. Henderson Land, another major developer in Hong Kong, closed up 0.3 percent to 52.55 HK dollars, and Cheung Kong Holding, a powerful HK-based developer controlled by billionaire Li Ka- shing, climbed 0.2 percent to 129.90 HK dollars.
As for mainland-based financial stocks, China Construction Bank, the country’s second largest bank which accounts for the third largest weighting of the Hang Seng Index, sank 1.7 percent to 6.22 HK dollars. ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, went down 0.4 percent to 5.53 HK dollars. Bank of China retreated 2.1 percent to 4.24 HK dollars.
PetroChina, the country’s largest oil and gas producer, was down 1.5 percent to 8.59 HK dollars. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.761 HK dollars)
• Gold price closes lower in Hong Kong
By Wang Xiaoni
The gold price in Hong Kong went down 145 HK dollars to close at 10,940 HK dollars per tael on Tuesday, according to the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society.
The price is equivalent to 1,183.41 U.S. dollars a troy ounce, down 15.69 U.S. dollars at the latest exchange rate of 1 U.S. dollar against 7.75 HK dollars.