More jail time for So’s younger brother for mortgage scam

Wallis Wang

The younger brother of former trade and economic development chief Gregory So Kam-leung – jailed on a fraud and money laundering charge – had his jail term extended to six years and three months after the Court of Appeal deemed his sentence too lenient.

Former lawyer Kevin So Kam-wai, 44, was found guilty of four counts of fraud, using false documents and money laundering after he and a colleague used the property of their customers to take out mortgages of HK$20 million from two money lending companies.

So was sentenced to three years and 11 months in prison by Assistant District Judge Katherine Lo Kit-yee in March last year. But the Justice Department filed for a review of the sentence because it felt the sentence was too lenient.

Three Court of Appeal judges – Derek Pang Wai-cheong, Maggie Poon Man-kay and Anthea Pang Po-kam – agreed yesterday that the original sentence was “obviously too lenient” and that Lo was wrong in principle.

Pang said So should be jailed for nine years, but the case was heard in the district court, which could only impose a maximum jail term of seven years. It also reduced So’s prison sentence by nine months as he faces a longer prison term after the sentence review.

The court will issue a written judgment explaining its decision within six months, Pang said.

The department told the court that Lo imposed a lenient sentence because So had paid off the mortgages before his arrest. However, the two finance companies had told So they would report to the police and that So only paid off the mortgage knowing he could be arrested, the department said.

The department also said there was no evidence that So had repaid all of the HK$20 million in mortgages, adding that part of the loan was paid for by So’s sister.

So’s behavior was a serious breach of trust as a legal clerk as he applied for large mortgages using his clients’ property when the clients did not need them, and he showed no remorse for his crime, he added.

Lawyer Franco Kuan Bak-on said his client So had no intention of “permanently depriving” financial companies of their assets. Then intended to pay off mortgages, he said, adding that he had not attempted to flee Hong Kong to avoid debt.

But judges denied Kuan’s efforts to get the sentence reduced, saying what he said was a “bold statement”.

So’s co-defendant, Jacky So Yun-yue, 52, had been sentenced to two and a half years, which he appealed, claiming he was being used by his colleague.

His appeal was dismissed yesterday by the judges.

[email protected]

Previous Trade with India - Journal
Next Flaws in UK-New Zealand trade deal revealed by separate EU deals