SCMP Friday, August 24, 2001

Pamela Pak starts prison term


Socialite Pamela Pak Wan-kam choked back tears yesterday after losing a hard-fought battle to stay out of prison for tax evasion.
Mr Justice Gareth Lugar-Mawson told Pak, 57, that a three-month sentence was not too harsh, despite her counsel's impassioned plea for mercy.
The celebrity radio personality, who in the words of her barrister, Graham Harris, was "psychologically prepared for the worst", tried to conceal her emotions during the hearing as her appeal against sentence was rejected.
Mr Harris had argued in the Court of First Instance that Pak should be spared jail because of her age and social standing.
"She has been punished enough," he said.
Pak consoled her tearful partner, solicitor Paul Tse Wai-chun, through the bars of the dock before being taken to the cells. She thanked relatives and supporters who had packed the court for proceedings.
The outspoken former radio host had been on bail pending appeal after Magistrate Paul Kelly sentenced her to jail on April 19 for forging meal receipts and employee salary records to evade $210,000 in profits tax.
She had pleaded guilty to four counts of assisting Platinum Promotion Ltd with intent to evade tax between 1994 and 1998 - effectively four taxation years - by signing fraudulent returns. She held 99.9 per cent of the shares in the company.
Feng shui master Ng Pui-foo accompanied Pak and Mr Tse to court yesterday and said afterwards he had advised the couple, who are well known for their outlandish outfits, to dress less flamboyantly.
Sporting an apple-green scarf and a suit in a matching tone, Pak looked anxious throughout the proceedings.
Concluding yesterday's hearing, Mr Justice Lugar-Mawson refused to let Pak take her case to the Court of Final Appeal.
Mr Tse said afterwards: "There is no question of whether I am disappointed or not. I have been disappointed all along."
A Correctional Services Department spokesman said Pak would not be able to continue her work as a columnist by sending out articles from prison.