Brother of former commerce chief sees jail term extended to six years and three months

The brother of former commerce minister Gregory So Kam-leung saw his jail term for money laundering extended to six years and three months following a successful judicial review filed by the Department of Justice.

The brother Kevin So Kam-wai, 44, was originally jailed for three years and 11 months for charges including money laundering, deception and using false documents.

He was working as a paralegal at the time and applied with a colleague for mortgage loans of HK$20 million using clients' property papers.

Last month, after the DoJ won the appeal for a sentence review, a panel of three judges, including Derek Pang Wai-cheong, Maggie Poon Man-kay, and Anthea Pang Po-kam, extended the jail term by two years and four months.

In the latest judgment released by the judiciary Tuesday, it said So took advantage of his position as a paralegal to apply for mortgage loans for his own interests with the documents of clients, dragging them into civil lawsuits innocently.

It also said So's crimes abused the trust of two financial institutes and seriously damaged society's perception of the industry and the firm's reputation.

So was the mastermind and the executioner of this scam and he didn't settle the payment before the incident was reported to police, as convinced by the original judge, who based on this reduced So's sentence by 10 months.

The original judge made a mistake when handing down the sentence, which was not in accordance with the sentencing standards to a great extent, the judgment pointed out.

The previous judge should have sentenced So to nine years' imprisonment, it added. Yet, given this was a District Court case, the penalty was downgraded to the maximum seven years' imprisonment.

So has been performing well in prison and the remaining length of his sentence is less then a year. The successful review caused him disappointment and anxiety and the three judges decided to deduct the extended term by another nine months.