A notorious convicted Hong Kong loan shark who inspired crimes leaving top officials in fear was thought to have jumped to his death on Wednesday night, hours after he was bailed in a 100 million yuan (US$14.4 million) investment scam case.
Sunny Wong, formerly known as Wong Kwai-fun, 62, fell from the eighth floor of a multi-storey car park complex, landing near two police officers on patrol at the junction of Temple Street and Market Street in Yau Ma Tei soon after 10.30pm on Wednesday.
About 14 hours after his death, his younger brother Wong Kwai-wing, 60, who was wanted in connection with the fraud case, surrendered himself to officers at Mong Kok police station at about noon on Thursday, a source said.
Officers arrested him for conspiracy to defraud and unlawful detention.
As of 4pm on Thursday, he was still being held at the station for questioning and had not been charged.
After the fall, Sunny Wong was taken to Kwong Wah Hospital, where he was declared dead.
Law enforcement sources said a suicide note was found at the scene and that initial investigation found nothing suspicious.
Wong had just met a friend in the car park complex, another source said, and after asking the person to go to a convenience store to buy something, Wong leapt to his death.
The incident happened hours after Wong, who was accused of involvement in a 100 million yuan investment scam, was released on HK$1 million (US$127,000) bail by a court on Wednesday afternoon, despite the prosecutor’s objections.
Wong and his co-defendant, clerk Wong Wai-kit, 37, were charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud following their arrest on Monday.
West Kowloon Court heard the pair were accused of conspiring with others to defraud a man, identified only as X in court documents, into paying 88,000 yuan and HK$880,000 in consultancy fees to Excellent Profit Inc. Prosecutors alleged they had dishonestly stated the company was a financial consultancy capable of compiling reports for financing purposes.
They were further alleged to have dishonestly claimed a loan of 100 million yuan would be arranged for X’s investment project in mainland China, based on the company’s report.
Prosecutors opposed releasing the two men on bail, but the objection was overruled by acting principal magistrate Ada Yim Shun-yee.
Sunny Wong was released on HK$700,000 cash bail and HK$300,00 surety and his co-defendant on HK$300,000 cash bail plus HK$100,000 surety.
Both men were also required to report to police daily, having surrendered their travel documents.
The case was to return to the same court for mention on November 7, pending further investigations.
Sunny Wong and his brother Wong Kwai-wing were jailed for a massive loan-sharking operation that sparked a series of crimes that left top officials in fear more than two decades ago.
A third brother, Wong Kwai-nam, was jailed in 1996 for a hate mail campaign aimed at officials he blamed for Sunny Wong’s incarceration. He was convicted of sending poison pen letters to public figures including then chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, the correctional services commissioner and a High Court judge.
Sunny Wong was the eldest of six siblings – four brothers and two sisters – and their father was a grocer in Hong Kong. Before being sent behind bars for a string of moneylending crimes, he ran a finance company, which was taken over by his brothers.
In 1989, Wong was sentenced by the High Court to 18 months in jail for helping an offender. Later he pleaded guilty to fraud and false accounting. That earned him a further 18 months in prison, and the Court of Appeal later increased his sentence to four years.
In 1991, he was jailed for 12 years for ordering an attack on the relative of a defaulting debtor and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The victim died three days after being beaten up. Wong’s sentence was reduced to 10 years on appeal. He served it at the same time as the four-year term.
In 1996, six more months were added to his time in jail for criminal intimidation of a prison officer after a row over how many newspapers he was allowed a day.
If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, help is available. For Hong Kong, dial +852 2896 0000 for The Samaritans or +852 2382 0000 for Suicide Prevention Services. In the US, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on +1 800 273 8255. For a list of other nations’ helplines, see this page.