Hong Kong billionaire Thomas Kwok denied bail ahead of bribery appeal

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong's real estate billionaire Thomas Kwok, currently serving a five-year jail term, was denied bail ahead of an appeal against his conviction for corrupting the city's former number two official.

Court of Appeal Vice-President Wally Yeung, after hearing arguments on Monday, said he would deliver a written decision later. No date was announced for the actual appeal hearing.

Kwok, who headed Hong Kong's biggest developer Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd with his younger brother, was found guilty in December of conspiring with Rafael Hui to commit misconduct in public office.

The seven-month trial was the city's highest- profile corruption case and exposed family feuds and cozy ties among the elite, and in Hui's case, a decadent lifestyle that eventually bankrupted him.

A nine-member jury found Kwok guilty of conspiring to pay HK$8.5 million (S$1.5 million) to Hui from 2005 to 2007 in exchange for favourable treatment for Sun Hung Kai, the city's biggest developer and commercial landlord. He was acquitted of two other charges.

His younger brother Raymond was cleared of all charges against him and remains as sole chairman of Sun Hung Kai.

Hui was convicted on five charges and given a 7.5-year jail term. He is also appealing.