Courts | Ho says ‘high officials’ wanted him to run for CE

Ho Chio Meng

The trial of former Prosecutor-General Ho Chio Meng resumed at the Court of Final Appeal yesterday. It was the second session since the matter was adjourned after Ho’s previous lawyer Leong Weng Pun withdrew from the case in March.

At the beginning of the morning session, Ho responded to an accusation claiming he hired a woman, named Wang Xian Di, without reason.

Ho said that higher officials told him to prepare to run for the Chief Executive post prior to Chui Sai On’s appointment. He did not indicate who these officials were.

Ho said that he hired Wang because of her expertise on mainland government structure, and Wang helped him to run for the position of CE. He claimed that Wang did a significant amount of work during that time.

According to Ho, Wang signed an employment contract with the Office of the Prosecutor General that legalized payments from the office to Wang.

Ho said Wong’s salary was paid directly to her, and he never received a penny from the payment.

Ho therefore questioned the source of the allegations of fraud committed by him, remarking that such accusations against him were purely speculative.

He pointed out that before the prosecution laid charges against him, it did not question Wang, with Ho himself only making one statement.

Still, under these conditions, the prosecution sued him, which Ho deemed unfair.

Yesterday, the court called a witness, surnamed Lei, who is the head of the Personnel and Finance Department.

Lei gave evidence that Wang was hired twice by the Office of the Prosecutor General.

When Wang was hired for the second time as a consultant, the office’s consultant vacancies were already fully filled.

Lei questioned Lai Kin Ian, another defendant and the previous director of the Office of the Prosecutor General, regarding Wang’s employment.

Lei said that Lai Kin Ian told her that Wang was hired under an employment contract and she was responsible to Ho.

After Wang’s second employment, Wang’s pay check was collected by Lai Kin Ian.

She also said that out of the entire MP staff, only Wang was not required to fill a form regarding annual leave.

In the afternoon session, six witnesses were called to give their testimony.

A former consultant at the office of the MP, and a former head of the Personnel and Finance Department, both said that they had not seen Wang much at the MP’s office.

Lai Kin Ian, also told the two that Wang’s files should be confidential, which resulted in them not paying attention to Wang’s work.

The two witnesses had also seen Wang at some events that the MP organized, but both were unaware of whether Wang was their colleague or a visitor.

The court also called Ho’s former bodyguard Lo Lai Pang, who had already testified before Ho changed his lawyer.

Lo said that he used to drive Wang to mainland China, which he referred to as “business trips.” For some time, Lo would drive her to the Mainland alone, and occasionally with other people, including Ho Chio Meng.

When questioned by the prosecutors regarding Hua Fa Xin Cheng (a residential building in Zhuhai), Lo said that he had driven Ho Chio Meng, together with Wang, to the place. However, he did not witness them entering the building together.

The prosecutor Kuok Un Man expressed his doubt over Lo’s testimony that his trips to the mainland with Ho Chio Meng were all business-related, given that the abovementioned building was residential.

Lo claimed that he did not know what Ho was doing.

The last witness called to court was a lady, surnamed Yang, who worked with Wang in Air Macau for five years from 1996 to 2001. Both Yang and Wang were flight attendants at that time.

According to Yang, there was one time she went shopping with Wang in Zhuhai. After shopping, Wang invited Yang to have dinner with her.

At dinner, Ho Chio Meng showed up, having been introduced by Wang as her higher official. Wang told Yang that she was an MP employee working as a consultant.

Prosecutor Kuok asked Yang, “did Wang introduce Ho as her boyfriend or as higher official?”, to which Yang replied that Wang had said “higher official.” Kuok’s question drew both Ho’s and Ho’s lawyer’s attention, although neither interjected.   

Yang also told Kuok that when Wang was living in Zhuhai, she lived in Hua Fa Xin Cheng, which is the aforementioned residence.

When all witnesses had testified, Ho made his statement. “The MP not only hired Wang through an employment contract, but an additional ten people,” said Ho, adding that the employments were not announced in the Government Official Gazette.

Ho’s second claim stated that MP did not rent parking spaces in the Nam Van area.

“Prosecutors [should] talk a bit more cautiously,” said Ho.

The trial continues today.

Accusation rebuffed

Ho Chio Meng denied that using public vehicles for personal purposes was illegal. He said that the practice is within the administration’s legal powers, and that if this matter can form the basis of criminal charges, there would be many other cases where criminal charges should be filed.

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