‘King of the Little House’ partner charged in billion-dollar fraud case

Edward Wong Kwong-wing, nicknamed the ‘King of Small Houses‘, and District Councilor Ching Chan-ming have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Land Department in connection with a small housing development project houses of Yuen Long.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption said Wong’s company, Wing Smart Construction, allegedly received more than HK$1 billion for the sale of 115 homes in the private sector over 14 years between 2005 and 2019.

Wong, 72, a lawyer who operates Wing Smart, and Ching, 65, a Yuen Long district councilor and indigenous representative of Shui Tsiu San Tsuen, are jointly facing one count of conspiracy to defraud.

They appeared in the Eastern Magistrates Courts yesterday before Magistrate Leung Ka-kie for citation. They did not enter a plea.

Leung adjourned the case to July 25 to allow the prosecution to investigate further and seek legal advice.

Wong got HK$500,000 bail and Ching HK$200,000. They are not allowed to leave Hong Kong and must surrender their travel documents. They are also required to reside at a listed address and report to a police station twice a month. They cannot approach prosecution witnesses.

The anti-corruption watchdog alleged that Ching began development of a small house real estate project in Shui Tsiu San Tsuen village in Yuen Long, buying “ding rights” from native residents around 1996. According to the New Territories Tiny House Policy, every indigenous male villager aged 18 or older can exercise their “ding rights” once and apply to the Land Department to build a tiny house in the village for their own work. “Ding Rights” are not transferable.

In March 2005, Wing Smart reached an agreement with Ching, appointing him as its administrator to jointly develop the tiny house project.

Ching then continued to buy more “ding rights” from the native inhabitants and arranged for them to apply for building permits to build small houses in Shui Tsiu San Tsuen.

They were charged with conspiring together and with others to defraud the Lands Department between May 2005 and May 2019, by making false statements to induce the Director of Lands and his officers to act contrary to their public duty to grant building permits to applicants, who have applied for building permits for the construction of tiny houses under the New Territories Tiny Houses Policy.

The ICAC said Wong and Ching allegedly falsely stated that each of the building permit applicants was the sole legal and registered owner of the respective plot of land located at Shui Tsiu San Tsuen.

He alleged that the two plaintiffs had falsely stated that the plaintiffs had never entered into any agreement or arrangement with anyone to transfer or otherwise deal with their respective lots of land or any interest and that the plaintiffs had never taken and had no intention of making private arrangements. to have their rights under the policy sold to another person or promoter.

The ICAC said a number of small houses were built in Shui Tsiu San Tsuen and sold to the public at market prices ranging from HK$9 million to HK$13 million each under the name of a private estate between 2005 and 2019.

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