Skip to main content
Contribution to Book
Understanding PRC Criminal Justice Process: Anatomy of the “Big Spender” Case
Crime and its Control in Greater the PRC (2004)
  • Kam C. Wong

On October 20, 1998 Cheung Tse-keung, also known as the “Big Spender,” and 35 others accomplices went on trial in China for a host of criminal charges, ranging from murder to kidnapping to smuggling of explosives committed in Hong Kong and China from 1991 to 1997. The “Big Spender” case made legal history in Hong Kong and China. It is the first time a Hong Kong legal resident (Cheung Tse-keung) was prosecuted, tried and executed in China under the PRC Criminal Law for criminal conduct largely perpetrated in Hong Kong. As such, it tests for the first time the criminal jurisdiction boundary between PRC and Hong Kong under “one country two-systems.” The “Trial of the Century” ended on November 12, 1998 with the court of the first instance, Guangzhou Intermediary People’s Court, finding Cheung (and all other defendants) guilty as charged. The court of the second instance, Guangzhou Higher People’s Court, rejected Cheung's appeal and confirmed his verdict on December 5, 1998. This article provides a general overview of the PRC criminal justice process as it conducts an in-depth anatomy of the “Big Spender” case, from case initiation (li an) by the public security to public prosecution (qisu) by the procuracy to final judgment (panju) by the court of the first instance and appeal (shang su) by the court of the second instance to final sentence execution (jixing). In the process, the article will discuss some of the more salient PRC criminal law and procedure issues raised by the “Big Spender” case. The legal process of the case is reconstructed from the Bill of Prosecution (Qixushu), the Criminal Judgment (Xingshi panshu) and the Appellate Decision made available by the PRC authority.

  • Chinese criminal justice process
Publication Date
Crime and its Control in Greater the PRC
Hong Kong University Press
Citation Information
Kam C. Wong. "Understanding PRC Criminal Justice Process: Anatomy of the “Big Spender” Case" Hong KongCrime and its Control in Greater the PRC (2004)
Available at: