When a luxury apartment becomes a jail cell

Chinese billionaire granted home confinement in Midtown

Jan.January 02, 2017 12:00 PM

Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng was allowed to stay in his Midtown luxury apartment while he awaits trial on bribery charges, in a stark example of how rich defendants can get favorable treatment from the judiciary.

Seng, who holds several passports, was deemed a flight risk when he was arrested in 2015. Normally that would mean he has to stay in a jail cell until his trial concludes.

But instead, a judge granted his request to stay at his four-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot luxury apartment at 240 East 47th Street in return for a $50 million bond. His apartment is guarded, and he may only leave it to see his lawyer or for approved medical visits.

Still, Seng’s attorney argues that such treatment amounts to “punitive measures” that cause his client psychological harm. After an earlier request to get permission to leave the apartment three times a week for up to eight hours was denied, the attorney, Hugh Mo, put in a new request in October to allow Seng to leave his apartment once a week.

In December, a judge denied that request, arguing that ““when someone is on home confinement, that means home confinement.”

When Mo proposed that his client be allowed to pick up Chinese food on the way home from an attorney visit, the judge suggested he could simply have it delivered to Mo’s office instead. [NYT] — Konrad Putzier

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