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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Alleged HK fugitive enters not guilty plea

Alleged Hong Kong fugitive and property mogul Wei Zeng has entered a not guilty plea in connection with his arrest at the Saipan International Airport last Jan. 16.

At an arraignment on Monday afternoon, Zeng, who appeared with court-appointed counsel Bruce Berline, waived the advisement of his constitutional rights and the reading of the charges against him.

Zeng, also known as Zhiqian Liu, pleaded not guilty to the indictment charging him with use of a false document and misuse of a passport.

U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona set the jury trial for April 14, 2014, at 10am.

Zeng was remanded back to the custody of the U.S. Marshal.

Assistant U.S. attorney Rami Badawy appeared for the U.S. government.

Also on Monday, Manglona issued an order that denied bail for Zeng in his provisional arrest warrant matter.

Zeng arrived on Saipan from Shanghai, China, and allegedly used a different identity to try to enter the island.

The Hong Kong government is seeking Zeng’s extradition due to a pending case against him. According to the U.S. government, the Hong Kong District Court issued a warrant for Zeng’s arrest after he allegedly bribed a Hong Kong bank official with HK 2.3 million ($300,000) in October 2010.

The cash was allegedly a reward for the bank official’s help in a multi-million Hong Kong dollar loan extension application and for giving favorable credit information relating to Zeng’s two companies.

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