Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Official’s flat-swap controversy deepens as details of husband’s relationship with tycoon emerge

The controversy surrounding Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee’s alleged conflict of interest regarding a property exchange deal has deepened as further details about her husband’s relationship with the seller of the flat come to light. An official letter from his bureau on the seller’s business has emerged, as well as details surrounding a luxury sports car used by him but purchased by the seller.

Betty Fung was recently revealed as the buyer of a flat-swap deal with Wiseson Limited, a company owned by Cheyenne Chan, sister-in-law of casino tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun, in 2013. According to an investigation conducted by HK01, the properties exchanged had a price difference of around HK$9.5 million. However, Betty Fung paid HK$6.5 million for the deal.

Fung’s husband Wilson Fung Wing-yip was a deputy secretary for the Economic Development and Labour Bureau and was in charge of aviation affairs in 2005. At the end of that year, a letter from the then head of the bureau sent a letter to Hong Kong Express Airways, of which Cheyenne Chan was a shareholder, Apple Daily reported.

Betty and Wilson Fung

Betty and Wilson Fung. Photo: Apple Daily.

The letter said the airline had not utilised the traffic rights granted by the government for 12 months, and the rights may be withdrawn by the government unless concrete plans to utilise them were made.

Letter recommended Chan

A shareholder of Hong Kong Express was Stanley Ho, casino magnate and CEO Andrew Tse’s uncle. Tse said Ho questioned his work at the airline after reading the letter, recommending his responsibilities be handed to Cheyenne Chan.

Tse told the newspaper that he suspected the letter was in fact written by Wilson Fung, as the then head of the bureau told him that the letter “should not have been issued” and Cheyenne Chan once told him the letter was indeed from Fung.

Tse questioned whether Wilson Fung abused his powers in issuing the letter in order to help Cheyenne Chan take over the company.

Cheyenne Chan; the Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa.

Cheyenne Chan; the Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa. Photo: Apple Daily.

Meanwhile, a Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa was purchased at the end of 2004 by East Asia Airlines, of which Cheyenne Chan was a director, HK01 reported.

The ownership of the Maserati was changed in 2009 and registered under the name Wilson Fung Wing-yip. But it was not known how much Wilson Fung had paid for it and how he acquired the car.

It was previously reported that Wilson Fung had once represented Wiseson Limited – for which he was not a director – when signing purchase documents in February 2013.

Last Saturday, Wilson Fung stated on Facebook that “I have never told my wife any of the dealing between myself and Ms Chan”.

Sickness from pressure

Betty Fung has left her flat where she lived with her husband and remains sick leave. Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah said on Tuesday that he did not know when she will return to work.

Lau Kong-wah.

Lau Kong-wah. File Photo: Gov HK.

“Mrs Fung is still on sick leave. All of us understand she has been facing pressure. And I approved her to continue to take a leave. As to when she will return to work, I think it is up to her.”

“Mrs Fung is a great civil servant and helped our bureau’s work very much, we would very much welcome her to come back after recovering.”

Official’s flat-swap controversy deepens as details of husband's relationship with tycoon emerge