The Court of First Instance (TJB) on Monday adjourned the trial of the ex-president of the Macau Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), Jackson Chang, and his 25 co-defendants for corruption and a string of other alleged crimes.
The trial was slated to start on Monday afternoon. But was adjourned to May 21.
The Public Prosecution (MP) requested the adjournment as five defendants failed to show up without notifying the court, or without justification.
Only nine of the 26 defendants appeared in court on Monday, while one was absent due to illness but let the court know that he or she was willing to attend the trial.
The remainder will be tried in absentia.
Chang, who has been in remand for nine months, arrived in a prison vehicle at the court about half an hour before the scheduled start of the trial.
Chang, aka Cheong Chou Weng, stands accused of criminal association, corruption, money laundering and breach of secrecy for his alleged involvement in a scheme that illegally granted residency permits to purported investors and professionals.
Chang’s alleged accomplices include his wife and daughter as well as businesspeople and fellow IPIM officials Glória Batalha Ung and Miguel Ian Iat Chun. Walking with a cane, Ung appeared in court accompanied by her high-profile lawyer Pedro Leal.
According to the Public Prosecution, the criminal association headed by Chang received more than MOP 10 million (US$1.25 million) from the residency permit applicants whose investment projects and professional qualifications were made up.
Public broadcaster TDM reported on Monday that Chang’s lawyer had asked the court to hear lawmaker José Maria Pereira Coutinho as a character witness. However, according to TDM, the Legislative Assembly (AL) declined the court’s request.