A high profile corruption trial involving a former Hong Kong official and two of the city's richest tycoons started Thursday, with the presiding judge issuing a gag order before a jury is chosen.
More than a hundred local and international journalists, as well as members of the public, crowded outside an already packed courtroom at Hong Kong's High Court, watching a live feed of the proceedings on monitors that offered split screens to simultaneously show Judge Andrew Macrae, the lawyers, the witness stand and a wider pan of the courtroom.
The trial is scheduled to run for 70 days and will involve over dozens of witnesses, with the jury selection expected to start May 19.
At the hearing, the defendants, among them Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. co-chairmen Thomas and Raymond Kwok and former Hong Kong chief secretary Rafael Hui, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including conspiracy to offer an advantage to a public servant.
The prosecution is alleging that the billionaire Kwok brothers offered payments to Mr. Hui to remain 'favorably disposed' to their interests.
The prosecution also alleges that Mr. Hui accepted the 'rent-free use' of two luxury apartments in a Sun Hung Kai residential development, as well as unsecured loans and cash worth a total of more than US$4.4 million.
The charges don't spell out what benefits, if any, that Sun Hung Kai or the Kwok brothers received from Mr. Hui, who was appointed Hong Kong's number 2 official in June 2005 for a two-year term and later became a member of the administration's cabinet until early 2009.
In addition, two other men, Sun Hung Kai executive Thomas Chan and businessman Francis Kwan, also face charges of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office in the same case.
All five men, who are out on bail, pleaded not guilty on Thursday.
The defendants were arrested in March 2012 after an investigation by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption, in one of the agency's biggest bribery cases in recent memory.
包括新鸿基地产发展有限公司(Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., 简称：新鸿基地产)联席主席郭炳江(Thomas Kwok)和郭炳联(Raymond Kwok)兄弟以及前香港特区政府政务司司长许仕仁(Rafael Hui)在内的被告在审讯中对包括向公职人员行贿在内的多重指控拒不认罪。
除此以外，另一名新鸿基地产高管陈巨源(Thomas Chan)和商人关雄生(Francis Kwan)也面临串谋藉公职作出不当行为的指控。
香港廉政公署(Independent Commission Against Corruption)在进行调查之后，于2012年3月份逮捕了五名被告。这是廉政公署近年来展开的最大规模反腐调查之一。
刚表态过的朋友 (1 人)