Yeung refused bail change

Yeung, a one-time hairdresser turned football tycoon, appeared in court to seek a change to his bail conditions so he could go on a four-day trip to Britain.

He was barred from leaving the southern Chinese territory after his arrest in June.

Magistrate David Dufton refused the application and Yeung's lawyer, Jonathan Kwan, said they would consider making an appeal at the High Court.

The Blues were relegated from the Premiership last season and face Coventry City in the opening match of their Championship campaign on Saturday.

Yeung, 51, faces five counts of "dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence", but the exact nature of the allegations remains unclear.

Prosecutors have said investigations revealed around HK$720 million ($92 million) passed through accounts connected with the tycoon.

Kwan told the court that his client is "extremely hands-on with the football club in the UK" and the trip would allow him to go to the match and discuss club business with new manager Chris Hughton.

The lawyer said the football transfer window would close at the end of August and "Mr Yeung's duty as a director and chairman includes these various matters".

Before his arrest Yeung travelled twice a month to Britain, Kwan said, and is "highly unlikely" to abscond.

"He is a high-profile person, a well-known personality in Hong Kong and the UK. It would be difficult for him to run off," he said.

The court heard that one of Yeung's guarantors was willing to put up another HK$1 million surety to add to his existing HK$7 million bail.

But prosecutor Anthony Chau, opposing the application, said the alleged crime was a "serious offence" that could see Yeung imprisoned.

He told the magistrate the club owner could appoint "others to handle those matters on his behalf".

Dufton transferred the case to the district court, where most of Hong Kong's commercial crime cases are tried.

Yeung was expected to enter a plea to the charges at his next pre-trial hearing on August 30.

Source: AFP