A former top Hong Kong official and tycoon was jailed on Thursday for nine months for failing to disclose an HK$510,000 payout while in office.

Wilson Fung Wing-yip, 56, former deputy secretary at the Economic Development and Labour Bureau (EDLB), was found guilty last month of one count of misconduct in public office. The case concerned an initial deposit for an HK$10.2 million apartment in Mid-Levels made by his then-mistress, Macau businesswoman Cheyenne Chan Ung-iok.

Wilson Fung
Wilson Fung Wing-yip. Photo: Stand News.

Chan, 63, is the former director and shareholder of three companies including Helicopters Hong Kong Limited, Hong Kong Express Airways Limited and Heli Express Limited. She is also the sister-in-law of casino tycoon Stanley Ho.

The payment on September 28, 2004, occurred when Fung was responsible for air service negotiations, the designation of carriers and allocation of air traffic rights from April 2003 to July 2006.

The court heard that, four days prior, Helicopters Hong Kong had submitted an application to the EDLB for designation and allocation of air traffic rights for Guangzhou and Shenzhen routes. The application was approved on December 9, 2004, before the property transaction was completed.

Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), previously alleged that Fung – without lawful authority or reasonable excuse – accepted the sum as a reward for favourable treatment for Chan and her companies.

Wilson Fung Cheyenne Chan
Wilson Fung Wing-yip (left) and Cheyenne Chan Ung-iok (right) in Macau, 2003. /Handout.

Fung was suspended from his post as the executive director of corporate development at the Airport Authority last August.

However, the court did not find the pair guilty of bribery last month after both denied any wrongdoing and said the payout was merely a transaction between lovers.

Fung is the husband of Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee, the head of the government’s Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Office, who was present in court on the day of sentencing.

Betty Ching Suk-yee
Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee.

Judge Douglas Yau Tak-hong said in his sentencing that the defendant’s prolonged acts of misconduct over a period of two years were a breach of the integrity of the civil service. He said Fung’s actions damaged its reputation and undermined public trust in the regime. Fung had over 20 years of experience as a civil servant.

Yau said that after considering the defendant’s contribution to society, his year-long prison term was reduced by three months to nine months.

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Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.