Saturday’s Financial Times and China Daily both featured photos of a Friday press conference given by Raymond and Thomas Kwok, the Sun Hung Kai Property bosses arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. In the FT, they are the most depressingly, tragically grief-stricken creatures on Earth, looking so morose – almost suicidal – that I had to push my bowl of Foreign Correspondents Club congee away to protect it from the floods of tears streaming down my face. In China Daily, on the other hand, they appear gloriously overjoyed, every bit as deliriously happy as they would be if the government gave them sole rights to develop the whole of Lantau into luxury residential sprawl for Mainlanders.
Some experts quoted in the media say that the court case and appeals could drag on for years. The Standard reports that the brothers could be budgeting HK$100 million for legal fees, and have already retained one Lawrence Lok for three years at HK$30 million. HK$30 million per year, that is. (Apparently, “…renowned barristers can charge between HK$10,000 and HK$50,000 an hour just to study documents.” Sounds like my kind of job – though some barristers I’ve met would drool over 50 grand a month.)
Obviously Barrister Lok’s fee is chicken-feed to the Kwoks, but even so, to my nasty, sordid little mind, such sums and timescales suggest that the pair are indeed conniving, cheating rascals, and know it. As Article 87 of the Basic Law makes clear, it’s the prosecution’s job to prove the accused guilty, and truly innocent parties surely shouldn’t need to spend such astronomical resources in their defence. Even if they do have unnervingly shifty-looking eyes and come from a dysfunctional family.
If the brothers do end up in prison, they might be interested to note that the cells really are the 60-90 square feet that are advertised – none of the supposed floor area is in fact in marble foyers or swimming pools. Other inmates will no doubt be intrigued to find out what Thomas, after his trip to the barber, has been hiding all these years under his repellently styled long hair. The rumour is that he is cursed with some sort of hideous deformity to one of his ears. He is the born-again Christian, and will no doubt use time behind bars as an opportunity to contemplate and of course spread the Gospel among his fellow convicts. Raymond, I am reliably informed, is the one with such an explosive, high-decibel, profanity-laden temper that he has to take anger-management courses. Such people tend to have a hard time adjusting to life incarcerated among violent psychopaths, triad hitmen and disciplinarian correctional staff.
Estranged third brother Walter has not been charged as yet. Kidnappers once held him in a box for a week, while his loving family (so the story goes) prudently haggled over the ransom. Relations with his kin were never quite the same, and they ejected him from the company over an extra-marital but intra-company affair. Although understandably affected by such traumas, he is the normal one and would make by far the most preferable cell-mate. For a while, at least; suspicious gossips wonder whether it is he who informed on his brothers (who wouldn’t?), and we all know what happens to ‘rats’ and ‘snitches’ in the penitentiary.
Will the matriarch visit them?
But we are running ahead of ourselves: there are many years, many millions in fees and many documents to study at HK$50,000 an hour to go.
Shorter term: today is the day Chief Executive CY Leung appears in the Legislative Council. Which lawmaker will ask the most impertinent, the most trivial, and the least original questions? The competition will be stiff, and I may be able to help.
My domestic helper pointed to a picture of CY in the newspaper the other day and said, finger trembling with rage, “He is a terminaTORRRR!” One of her friends is a maid for a family near the Leungs on the Peak, and apparently it is common knowledge among the Filipino amahs in the neighbourhood that domestic helpers in Trellis Mansion do not last long. They probably do not end up six feet under some illicit structure in the garden; they have their contracts terminated – hence the dread, lethal-sounding expression. Serial terminators are usually wives who curiously can’t get on with any maid, and so fire and hire them every few months, causing financial and visa nightmares for the ex-servants. Word of such toxic employers spreads fast. An ideal subject for an embarrassing and personal question at this afternoon’s Legco appearance, surely?
Public Prosecutor Kevin Zervos looks uncannily like Rowan Atkinson:
My nasty sordid mind is asking who will foot Rafael Hui’s barrister’s bill . The non- Standard reports he’s already HK$72 Million in debt so I don’t see him being able to fork out $100 Million to defend himself, or even & 7 Million.
Or…… is it permitted under HK’s anti corruption laws for the Kwoks to pay for Hui’s legal fees ( and in which case can they also write off his $72 Million debt and give him another $72 Mil on top as pocket money for when he gets out of clink ? I mean : he’s no longer a civil servant so the Kwoks can now give him as much cash as they want he doesn’t have to report it to any superior , except Mrs Hui )
With all these barristers and 5 miscreants, all defending themselves and ( I assume) accusing each other, this will surely go on for decades, thus wasting billions of TAX MONEY .
Sh1t – these f********g tycoons and corrupt civil servants still find a way to steal my hard -earned tax money even when on trial
Methinks the mainland maybe does get it right sometimes. Stick ’em all in wooden boxes and feed them bak juk and water until they all confess. That’ll save us all a helluva lot of money that the ripped-off poor much better deserve. ( and if they don’t confess within one year, tell them that the last one to confess will be put in a box with Raymond Kwok)
Only one of the brothers is an evangelical Christian? I thought they all were. Anyway, not very Christian behaviour from any of them. He can sit in his cell and stew about his imagined punishments in the next life.
As to the serial terminators…these wives fail to note that they are the common denominator in all the failed DH relationships. Pampered tai-tai’s, useless wastes of space, the lot of them.
Clear conscience never fears midnight knocking, Nor needs expensive barrister.
Unless clear conscience resides in a land absent Rule of Law, although in such a place expensive barristers might be few and far between in any case. At least we still observe the forms. Lawyers have to eat, too, you know.
I’m relieved that the Kwoks ARE God-fearing Christians – imagine what mayhem and unspeakable acts they could have got up to if they didn’t believe in the Christian god and followed all the religious and moral bollocks that goes with it! It would be like the Heung Yee Kuk running the place … hang on a minute!
To quote Michael Palin/Ben from the prison scene in Life of Brian “… nail ’em up, I say, nail some sense into them!”
I hope that the ICAC has played its ‘A’ game and the Kwoks and Hui do time and then become Ronald Li’s on release. If the ICAC have cut corners the expensive silks, employed by the Kwoks, are going to find it.
Whatever happens we should be able to hear all about the cosy relationship between big developers and the Administration. Thus making it difficult for this to ever be repeated.
Who knows a conviction then perhaps an emboldened ICAC may look again at a few more, even tastier, Tycoons ?
“One of her friends is a maid for a family near the Leungs on the Peak, and apparently it is common knowledge among the Filipino amahs in the neighbourhood that domestic helpers in Trellis Mansion do not last long.”
A genuine fucking scoop. Forwarded to my mate Jimmy for action. Cheers.
@ Vile : You have been watching too many late night issues of Spartacus on Max channel TV , absent words like “without”
“Thus will the ICAC, absent barristers, on the Kwoks bring pressure happily to bear and thus to prison speedily condemn” (Gaius Claudius Glaber et. all of us)
PS : Let the lawyers eat each other say I. At least they won’t die from obesity even if they die from lack of protein
Surely, the Kwok’s legal fees will be paid by SHK shareholders..?
That is what the shareholders are there for, n’est-ce pas…
Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern of the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken. And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools. Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless. You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world. You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences, will most likely remain undiscovered.
@ Sir Crispin ( et al.)
The night is late and soon dawns another day in the Big Lychee , for tycoons-in-fear-of- clink, CY Leung, and tax payers who must pay for CY and his new crew – for whom I still hold out some modicum of faith and hope for a better world ( Heck – it surely can’t get any worse ! Unless CY resigns and Tang comes back….)
Re Domestic Helpers : I second your view. Personally, in my happy little household, we really treasure our DH ( she is Indonesian). She happily works for us and we treat her well and as one of the family. We pay her over and above the Govt minimum plus a rental allowance so she can can stay with a fellow DH and have her own private life at night – or whenever . In return she is scrupulously honest, gives the extra mile when occasionally needed, and one day will go back home with a golden handshake from us to help her start her own little business ( she has already bought a vegetable garden with her accumulated savings ) . Who says win-win is dead ? Not I
Serial terminators are perfectly law-abiding citizens. Though God forbid DH-gate, DHs living out and, gasp, the bedrock of non-procreating middle class households, part-time DHs.
Once more the gods spread cheeks and thrust home.