Ex-MD jailed for trying to influence witness

Ex-MD jailed for trying to influence witness

SINGAPORE - A former managing director has lost an appeal against his conviction for trying to influence a Singaporean prosecution witness in a Hong Kong corruption trial.

Mr Poh Po Lian, 56, received at least two phone calls and five text messages from the offender Paul Chong shortly before he was due to give evidence last year.

Mr Poh is founder of the Weike Group in Singapore, a holding company with investments in the leisure lifestyle industry. He is also a major shareholder of C Y Foundation Group (CYF), a computer game developer.

The defendants in the trial were CYF's former chairman, adviser and financial controller.

Chong, 45, the managing director of an investment securities firm, had phoned Mr Poh before he was due to testify last year but the witness did not enter into the discussion.

In February 2012, Mr Poh also received a text from Chong telling him to "be lenient".

The case was prosecuted by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption which found that Mr Poh felt the message had an impact on his willingness to give evidence, though he eventually did.

Chong was convicted of trying to pervert the course of justice in March and the High Court dismissed his appeal last week.

In affirming his 18-month jail term, the court noted that Chong had been "quite persistent in putting pressure" on Mr Poh.

Separately, Mr Poh won a civil claim in the Hong Kong High Court to have the relevant by-laws of CYF amended to enable removal of a director by a simple resolution instead of by a special resolution. The latter resolution would have required a 75 per cent majority, while the former needed just a simple majority.

Mr Poh, represented by lawyer Henry Wai, was sole shareholder and director of Luck Continent which held 46.58 per cent of CYF's issued shares.

Hong Kong's Court of Appeal last week dismissed with costs a move to reverse the High Court decision by opponents who held minority shares in CYF.

The court held that approving the change would, among other things, align CYF's by-laws with the listing requirements of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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