Macau’s former chief prosecutor Ho Chio-meng jailed 21 years

Baku, July 15, AZERTAC

Macau’s former top prosecutor Ho Chio-meng was sentenced to 21 years in jail on Friday with no right to appeal, over crimes including fraud and money laundering, as well as initiating or founding a criminal syndicate.

According to the South China Morning Post, he will also have to pay more than 18 million patacas to the prosecutor general’s office, and separately, pay more than 50 million patacas either by himself or with other suspects, to the office.

Ho, 62, was the city’s prosecutor general for 14 years and once tipped to become the chief executive of the former Portuguese enclave.

He faced 1,536 criminal charges, including initiating or founding a criminal syndicate, fraud and money laundering.

The sentencing came about two months after the final hearing.

This is the second high-profile case involving the city’s officials after 1999, when Macau returned to Chinese rule.

In 2006, former secretary for transport and public works Ao Man-long was arrested and later sentenced to about 29 years in jail for 90 crimes mostly related to money laundering and taking bribes.

Ho’s case is believed to involve the largest number of charges in Macau’s history, sparking concern in the community.

Local lawyers said it could tarnish the credibility of the city’s public prosecutions office. Some called for supervision mechanisms to be put in place.

From 2004 to 2014, Ho allegedly awarded some 2,000 public works contracts worth more than 167 million patacas from the prosecutions office to local businessmen. Ho and nine other individuals were accused of pocketing at least 44 million patacas.

The trial of the nine suspects at the Court of First Instance ended on Wednesday, and they will hear their sentence on August 15.

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