Eric advises on all aspects of criminal law. He has more than 16 years of experience in criminal litigation and can guide you through every step of the process in criminal proceedings. He was a trainee at a leading criminal law firm and was admitted to their partnership in 2008. In August 2014, he set up Morley Chow Seto with Mr. Christopher Morley and Ms. Anita Chow.
Eric has defended clients in a wide array of criminal offences ranging from relatively minor offences such as loitering to more serious offences such as rape. You will often see Eric appearing at various levels of courts in Hong Kong. In recent years, Eric’s focus has been on complex white collar crime and securities cases. He has been selected by Who’s Who Legal Business in their Business Crime Defence section for recognition of his work in white collar crime defence in Hong Kong. In addition, Eric has been recognised as a Preeminent Criminal Lawyer in Hong Kong by Doyle’s 2019 Guide.
To further his legal career, Eric was admitted as a lawyer of the Surpreme Court of Western Australia in 2018.
Some of the cases handled by Eric include the following:-
ICAC Investigation / Prosecution
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) primarily deal with cases involving private and public sector corruption. Eric has extensive experience in handling all aspects of an ICAC investigation/prosecution. He was the instructing solicitor in a high profile ICAC case which lasted for more than 90 court trial days – HKSAR v Tse Sui Luen(DCCC 350/2006). This case also involved the taking of evidence in the courts of the United States. He was also the instructing solicitor in HKSAR v Lee Kai Wai DCCC 1012 of 2007 in which it was ruled by a judge at the District Court that there was no case to answer on all of the charges instituted against his client.
The ICAC has a wide range of special powers under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (“the POBO”). Not only is Eric experienced in representing clients at trial, he is also able to advise clients in the following ICAC related matters:-
Under sections 17B and 17BA the POBO, the ICAC can make an application to the Magistrates’ court for the surrender of an arrested person’s travel documents/passports. This happens even before the arrested person is charged with a criminal offence. In the past, Eric has successfully helped clients in getting their passports back from the ICAC.
Eric also has helped clients who are required to provide information in relation to dealings in property under section 14 of the POBO.
Please also see ICAC.
SFC Criminal Investigation / Prosecution
Since the introduction of the Securities and Futures Ordinance (“SFO”) which came into operation on 1 April 2003, the SFC has introduced the dual civil and criminal regime relating to all types of market misconduct. When interviewed by the SFC, section 184 makes it an offence for an interviewee to fail to answer questions raised by a SFC investigator. Eric is experienced in attending SFC interviews with clients and provide the necessary guidance. He was the instructing solicitor in a landmark case on False Trading. In HKSAR v Fu Kor Kuen Patrick and Lee Shu Yuen Francis FACC 4 of 2011, the Court of Final Appeal acquitted Eric’s clients of all charges. The court also awarded legal costs to his clients.
Please also see SFC.
Money laundering cases are one of Eric’s key practice areas. He is able to advise you from the early stage of the investigation (which usually commences with a JFIU freeze) to the end. If you are unable to access your bank accounts in Hong Kong, it might be that your bank accounts have been frozen by the Joint Financial Intelligence Unit which is a department jointly run by the Hong Kong Police Force and the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department. Eric has successfully helped clients in removing the so-called “JFIU freeze”. Similarly, if your assets have been restrained by way of a “Restraint Order” issued by a court of law, Eric is also able to help you in this regard.
If you have been charged with money laundering, Eric can guide you in defending the charges. In the unfortunate event that you are convicted of the charges, Eric can also advise you on any consequential confiscation hearings.
If you suspect that you innocently possess funds which came from illegal money laundering activities, Eric can also advise you in the process of submitting a STR (Suspicious Transaction Report).
Please also see Money Laundering
Customs and Excise Department – Anti-counterfeit investigations
In addition to defending prosecutions brought by the Customs and Excise Department, Eric is also able to help clients in lodging complaints to the Customs and Excise. In today’s world, intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets of an organisation. Eric has recently assisted a renowned mobile phone manufacturer in tackling their counterfeit problems. He organised a team of private investigators and cooperated with the Customs and Excise Department to investigate counterfeit activities in Hong Kong and in the PRC. As a result of the joint effort, several individuals were arrested in Hong Kong.
Please also see Customs and Excise Prosecutions.
Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
Hong Kong has entered into co-operational agreements with various foreign countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce criminal laws. Under the agreements, a foreign country can request the Hong Kong Government to assist in restraining certain assets which are located in Hong Kong even though the a crimes were alleged to have been committed in another country. Eric has advised international organisations as well as individuals whose assets are restrained in Hong Kong.
Please also see Matters involving other jurisdictions.
Eric also frequently helps clients in making representations to the Department of Justice to persuade them to drop the charges in exchange for a “bind over order”. For more information, please see Bind Over.