Hong Kong’s former Chief Secretary of Administration Rafael Hui was convicted of graft Friday, becoming the most senior government official ever to be found of guilty of corruption. The conclusion of the eight-month-long trial found Hui guilty of five counts of eight charges spanning bribery to misconduct in office. Billionaire property tycoon Thomas Kwok, co-chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties and one of two business leaders accused of colluding with Hui, was also found guilty for a charge involving a HK$8.5 million ($1.1 million) bribe made to Hui in 2005. Kwok’s brother Raymond Kwok, also accused, was cleared of all charges.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors alleged that Kwok bribed Hui to be his company’s “eyes and ears” in the government, according to the South China Morning Post. The prosecution also said Hui enjoyed a lavish lifestyle that far outstripped his official salary, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Examples include rent-free use of luxury apartments from the Kwok brothers, extravagant meals, and loans totaling HK$5.4 million ($696,300) of which Hui repaid only the interest. Hui was accused of beginning relations with the Kwok brothers as far back as 2000.
Hui’s guilty verdict marks a success for the city’s anticorruption commission, of which Hui was once a part. Hui began as the secretary for financial services, and eventually rose to become the city’s chief secretary from 2005 to 2007.
Hui and the Kwok brothers were arrested in March 2012, and the company announced Friday evening that Thomas Kwok would resign from his position as chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties. Thomas Chan, the company’s executive director who was also convicted of conspiracy to misconduct by funneling funds to Hui, also resigned.
The graft trial unfolded as students and activists in recent months have protested in demand of democratic elections in Hong Kong.