Disgraced Macau prosecutor general faces nearly 2,000 criminal charges

MACAU (AFP) - Macau's disgraced former top prosecutor faces nearly 2,000 criminal charges, according to the Chinese gambling enclave's highest court, which will try Ho Chio Meng next month.

Ho, who was Macau's prosecutor general for 16 years until 2014 and was once tipped for the job of the city's leader, was arrested earlier this year as he attempted to travel to Hong Kong, according to media reports.

The 1,970 charges Ho faces include abuse of power, fraud, money laundering, illegal sharing of economic benefits and even starting a criminal syndicate, according to a statement from the city's court of final appeal released on Thursday (Nov 10).

Ho's case will be heard on December 5, the statement added.

The charges also include an alleged 44 million patacas (S$7.77 million) he took in kickbacks, reports said.

The trial is one of the biggest corruption cases involving government officials in the former Portuguese colony since 2009.

That year, former transport and public works minister Ao Man Long was found guilty on a number of corruption charges and sentenced to 29 years in jail.

Ao was found to have received bribes for the acquisition of land near the airport from a Hong Kong business man and tycoon Joseph Lau.

Lau was also found guilty in 2014 and was sentenced to five years and three months, but he was tried in absentia and is unlikely to serve time as Hong Kong and Macau do not have an extradition agreement.

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