IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 1221 OF 1998
(On appeal from ESCC 2385 of 1998)
|CHU MAN HONG
Coram: Deputy Judge McMahon in Court
Date of Hearing: 25 March 1999
Date of Judgment: 25 March 1999
J U D G M E N T
1. The Appellant was convicted after trial at Eastern Magistracy of an offence of recklessly inducing a person to take part in an investment arrangement contrary to s. 3(1)(b) of the Protection of Investors Ordinance, Cap. 335.
2. The Appellant had been charged with a further similar offence under that same section in respect of an alleged inducement of another individual but was acquitted of that offence at the end of the trial.
3. The facts of the case were that the Appellant was a senior executive of a company operating in Hong Kong as, inter alia, a bullion investment company. It purported to trade in gold and silver bullion through an account with the Hong Kong Bank. The victim (PW3 at trial) was introduced to the Appellant by a friend (PW1 at trial) who was also a staff member of the Appellant's company and who was also herself the alleged victim of the offence in respect of which the Appellant was acquitted. PW3 was subsequently employed by the Appellant's company.
4. The Appellant subsequently urged PW3 at a meeting between them to open an investment account with the company. That account was to be opened for the purpose of trading in gold or silver. PW3 agreed and an account was opened with the sum of HK$30,000.
5. The prosecutions case was that the Appellant had further subsequently promised PW3 that if he invested an additional sum of $300,000 in a further account, a guaranteed return of principal and interest totalling $600,000 would be paid to PW3 after 2 months. PW3 agreed and a further account was opened by him with the Appellant's company into which PW3 paid the sum of $300,000. That money was lost in the course of trading.
6. Subsequent to investing the $300,000 in the new account PW3 had obtained the Appellants signatures on notebook or diary entries he had made summarising various aspects of their financial relationship and incorporating reference to the Appellant's promise to repay the $600,000 by the 15 November 1996 being the end of the 2 month period of the agreement.
7. The Appellant appeals on 5 grounds:
8. Firstly, that the learned magistrate accepted PW3's evidence as credible without properly considering issues relating to his evidence.
9. Secondly, that the learned magistrate analysed the evidence in the case wrongly relating to alleged signatures of the Appellant on the notebook entries of PW3.
10. Thirdly, that the learned magistrate reversed the burden of proof in respect of those alleged signatures of the Appellant in finding that they were the Appellant's.
11. Fourthly, that the learned magistrate wrongly concluded that if the Appellant had in fact signed Exhibit P3 (that is the notebook of PW3) then the Appellant was aware of the contents of that document.
12. And fifthly, that there was no sufficient evidence to support the learned magistrate's conclusion that the investment arrangement traded in "property" as required by the section.
13. As to the 1st ground the Appellant's main complaint as advanced by Mr Boyton for the...