The trial of former public prosecutor general Ho Chio Meng at the Court of Final Appeal (TUI) resumed yesterday to hear several witnesses.
The trial was expected to be on hold until March 29 in order to give Ho’s new legal team – led by Oriana Pun – enough time to familiarize themselves with the case.
Pun agreed with the decision, despite the short notice. “[The trial resumes] in order to hear the witnesses that were already notified and that live outside
Macau. The court did this in order to economize on the trouble of asking them to come in another day and to not take the risk that they were not available to come in another date,” she told TDM.
“We knew from the start that this could happen if the witnesses turn up. We were already prepared for this.”
Three witnesses were heard during yesterday’s session. Two had previously been mentioned several times in the process; namely, the head of the Guangdong Province’s Public Prosecutions Office Anti-corruption Department, and a member of a cultural association.
The two witnesses had allegedly taken multiple trips and stayed in several hotels, with all expenses being paid by the Public Prosecutions Office (MP).
The witnesses listed by the defense said they had been in the region several times to meet either with Ho or with the former Chief Executive, Edmund Ho, on the MP’s dollar.
In the afternoon, one of the sisters of Ho, Iok Fan, who is currently living in Hong Kong, confirmed she gave money to her father on a monthly basis and on special occasions. She said all her siblings, as well as her own daughter, did the same.
Iok Fan said that prior to her father’s hospitalization, she visited the territory about 10 times per year, which increased as her father’s health worsened.
Iok Fan said she gave her father HKD3,000 to 4,000 and her daughter would give about MOP2,000 to 3,000, but that they would give more in cases where needed.
When questioned about why her father delivered the money to Ho Chio Meng instead of depositing it into his own bank account, she said, “I don’t know. It was his choice.”
She said she was unsurprised, adding that their mother had passed away when Ho was still studying in secondary school, and that their father had entrusted him with some family issues, including their finances.
The witness also said she was unaware of the house Ho had bought in his wife’s name that was supposed to be for their father, as well as the house rented by the MP at Cheoc Van, which she claims to have never visited. RM