JOSEPH LAU LUEN-HUNG, STEVEN LO KIT-SHING SENTENCED TO JAIL FOR LAND DEAL

Chinese Estates Holdings chairman Joseph Lau, and his business partner Steven Lo Kit-shing, chairman of the South China Football Club and entertainment group BMA Investment, were found guilty of corruption and money laundering for paying a HK$20 million bribe to disgraced ex-public works chief Ao Man-long in relation to the acquisition of land for a luxury residential development "La Scala" in Macau. Both men were given the same jail term of five years and three months. However, in the absence of an extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Macau, the two will not be jailed as long as they stay away from the former Portuguese enclave.  Joseph Lau has appealed the conviction and has also resigned from Chinese Estates Holdings.

Ao was the most senior public official ever arrested, tried, and convicted since Macau's handover.  He was sentenced to 29 years in prison in May 2012 on corruption charges.

Following a delay of nine months due to Lau's repeated absences on account of his poor health as well as the illness of the original presiding judge, the trial finally commenced in mid-June this year without Lau and Lo's appearance.  Ao, the alleged recipient of the bribes, was called to testify although he exercised his right against self-incrimination and refused to appear at the hearing.