|Acsilyn Miyazaki |||May 08, 2014 03:21 AM EDT|
(Photo : South China Morning Post) Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan with Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong (top) and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen (bottom).
Trial began Thursday on the biggest corruption case in the history of Hong Kong where a top city official and a pair of billionaire brothers are facing bribery charges amounting to HK$34 million.
Former Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Siyan is accused of receiving HK$28.8 million cash bribes and HK$5.4 million worth of loans from businessmen brothers Thomas and Raymond Kwok during his term of office from 2000 to 2009.
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The charges against the Kwok brothers included conspiracy to offer advantage to a government official, conspiracy to commit misconduct in a government office and misconduct in a government agency.
Hui shares five of his eight criminal offenses with the Kwok brothers.
As early as dawn of Thursday, local and foreign media eager to cover the city's biggest-ever corruption trial had camped out at the entrance to the Court of First Instance to wait for the arrival of the defendants.
The Kwok brothers arrived in separate vehicles at 9:30 and 9.38am, both smiling and waving to the cameras trained at them.
At 10am, presiding Justice Andrew Macrae entered the court where he is to spend the next 70 days hearing the graft case and pouring through evidence submitted by 82 prosecution witnesses.
Hui and the Kwok brothers were joined by two other defendants, Sun Hung Kai Properties executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, and former Hong Kong Stock Exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang.
By 11:20am, all five defendants have pleaded Not Guilty to the the eight counts of bribery, misconduct in public office and conspiracy charges that were levelled against them.
The court is expected to devote the rest of Thursday hearing procedural arguments on the case.
The 66 year old Hui is the highest ranking government official to face the biggest graft trial in the city.
Hui allegedly received the cash bribe in 2005 from the Kwok brothers, who own Sun Hung Kai Properties, after he was promoted to Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong under Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.
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