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Joseph Tse, SC

LL.B. University of Hong Kong (1983)
PCLL University of Hong Kong (1984)



Joseph was called to the Hong Kong Bar in 1984 and commenced practice in 1985. He was appointed as a Senior Counsel in 2006. Joseph practises in criminal law with expertise and interest in white collar crime cases involving, inter alia, the ICAC. He was a graduate and a post-graduate of the School of Law of the University of Hong Kong as it was known at the time.

Memberships & Appointments

  • Senior Vice Chairman of the Bar Council, Hong Kong Bar Association in 2015-2016
  • Member of the Bar Council, Hong Kong Bar Association in 2002-2007
  • Rotating Chairman of the Duty Lawyer Service Council 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2018
  • Deputy Chairperson of Side by Side
  • Chairman of The Service Development Committee of Side by Side
  • Chairman of the Rebranding Committee of Side by Side
  • Project Consultant to the Mock Trial Programme of Side by Side
  • District Council Eligibility Review Committee  – Non Official Member

Selected Cases

HKSAR v Tse Sui-luen DCCC 350/2006

Defended the self-made entrepreneur on charges of bribery and theft which spanned over a period of 10 years and which involved over $10 million, but successfully secured a very short sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment

HKSAR v Chan Chi-wan, Stephen DCCC 1214/2010

Successively defended the Managing Director of TVB on charges of corruption in relation to his acceptance of secret rewards in hosting a show. The acquittals were later overturned by the Court of Appeal but restored by the Court of Final Appeal the judgment of which is now the leading authority on corruption offences in the private sector.

HKSAR v Chui Wing-nin ESS 27729 & 27730/2011

Defended the accused who was the accounts manager in Citic Pacific an allegation of insider dealing during the very serious financial crisis the group was in. His conviction was overturned by the Court of First Instance (HCMA 15/13).

HKSAR v Hui Rafael Junior and others HCCC 98/2013

Successfully prosecuted the ex-Chief Secretary of the HKSAR and some of the senior management of SHK on corruption and misconduct in public office offences. Their appeals were dismissed by the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal.

HKSAR v Lew Mon-hung HCCC 561/2013

Successfully defended the businessman, column writer and political commentator against charges of Conspiracies to Defraud and Money Laundering. He was convicted separately of perverting the course of justice (DCCC 819/2013) during the investigation of this case when he sent emails and letters to Mr. CY Leung the Chief Executive of HKSAR and the Commissioner of the ICAC to call a halt to his investigation. His appeal to the Court of Final Appeal (FAMC 50/2018) was dismissed.

HKSAR v APL Co. Pte Limited DCCC 446/2017

Defended the shipping company on charges of illegally arranging for the importation of 9 armoured vehicles from Taiwan into Hong Kong en route to Singapore without a licence. The case had caused an international political stir at the time between China and Singapore. The total value of the armoured vehicles ran into hundreds of millions of dollars and the shipping company was looking at fines in the region of millions of dollars. When the true circumstances behind the importation was revealed at the trial, the court imposed nominal fines.

HKSAR v Wong Ying-ho, Kennedy DCCC 190/2017

Successfully defended the well-known accused on charges of corruption relating to his efforts in the relisting of failed public companies.

HKSAR v Wong Wai-ho CACC 38/2017

Represented the accused who is the 7th police officer prosecuted for assaulting Mr. Tsang Kin Chiu during the Occupy Central Movement. His conviction was quashed on appeal.

HKSAR v Fung Wing Yip, Wilson DCCC 761/2018

Successfully defended the accused who was a senior ex-government official against a charge of accepting bribes from his secret lover in his acquisition of a property in Hong Kong. His conviction on Misconduct in Public Office is currently on appeal.

HKSAR v Lui Chung Yan Grace STCC 3642/2019

Successfully defended the accused who was a doctor in a public hospital against a charge of accepting an advantage over the gift a watch from a grateful ex-patient whose life she saved.

HKSAR v Leung Kar Cheung, Catherine DCCC 504/2019

Successfully defended the Managing Director of JP Morgan Securities (Asia-Pacific) Ltd against a charge of offering an advantage over the employment of the son of the Chairman of Kerry Logistics Networks Ltd under the bank’s Sons & Daughters Program in return for the Chairman’s influence over the selection of the bank in the company’s upcoming initial public offering.

HKSAR v Lee Pui Shan Sandy DCCC 892/2019

Successfully defended the College Secretary of one of the colleges of the Chinese University against charges of Misconduct in Public Office and Fraud over allegations that she purposely approved the procurements by the university of works and projects to be supplied or provided by a company which was owned by her brother-in-law. The acquittal was overturned in a case state application by the prosecution and a trial de novo has been ordered.

HKSAR v Ma Cho-yiu KCCC 2628/2019

Defended the kindergarten supervisor who secretly taped numerous female visitors inside his home washroom. As there was no criminal law against such behaviour in his private premises, he was charged with offences in relation to child pornography when one of the tapes happened to depict a female child. He was convicted but appeal was allowed as the tape in question was found not to be lewd

HKSAR v Leong Isabella Kau ESS 18088-18098/2020

Defended the ex-Miss HK on 11 summonses of tax evasion. Although she was convicted, the pending appeal will offer opportunities to have the stale criminal legal principles in respect of this offence clarified and updated in many different respects, since past cases were invariably uncontested and the jurisprudence in this area was largely underdeveloped

HKSAR v Lam Man Leung WKCC 4992/2021

Successfully defended the banker against ICAC charges that he had conspired with various customers to accept advantages from them in return for preferential treatment to them in the banking services provided

HKSAR v Lam Wai Kit & others CACC107/2021

4 of the appellants made an unprecedented application to the Court of Appeal for bail pending the hearing of their appeal. This was the first time in the history of Hong Kong that such an application was made. In order to prevent a floodgate to such applications in the future in other cases, the Court of Appeal laid down guiding principles

V Capital Ltd v. Margaret Chiu CACV 497/2021

Successfully appealed against an order of imprisonment imposed on the judgment debtor after a debtor examination on the ground that her bankruptcy in between the examination and the hearing of the application operated as a bar to a continuance of the imprisonment proceedings.

The Mirror incident investigation 2022

Acted for PCCW in advising it on the ongoing police investigation over the notorious accident at the HK Coliseum while the boy group Mirror was performing there

HKSAR v Ho Chi Kuen KTCC 1968/2022

Successfully defended an electrical contractor against whom the ICAC alleged had offered advantages to a senior civil servant in the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department while the department had dealings with his company

HKSAR v Lau Tin Yuen Timothy STCC 519/2022

Successfully defended the buyer in a property transaction against which the ICAC alleged the transaction price had been artificially lowered to defraud banks and the Stamp Duty Office

HKSAR v Yu Sze Yui Cynthia HCMA 146/2022

Successfully appealed against the doctor’s convictions in relation to the submitting to the Medical Council of a forged proof of having passed an earlier examination for the purpose of applying to sit in the more advanced HK Intercollegiate Board of Surgical Colleges Membership Examination. The prosecution declined to apply for a retrial.

Spoken Language

Punti, English


for Joseph Tse, SC

Joseph Tse SC is recognised as Spotlight for White-Collar Crime: The Bar:

“Joseph Tse SC of Des Voeux Chambers is active across the criminal law spectrum, but particularly well known for his defence of corruption, insider dealing, commercial fraud, bribery and money laundering cases, where he has acted for some of Hong Kong’s most prominent political, financial services and commercial figures.”

— Chambers & Partners: Greater China Region 2023

Joseph Tse SC is recognised as a Leading Silk in the fields of Regulatory, Investigations And Crime.

— Legal 500 Asia Pacific: Hong Kong Bar (2023)

“Joseph Tse SC is at the absolute pinnacle of his game for white-collar crime, for which he has the highest profile in Hong Kong.” He is referred to as “a go-to,” “the standout” and “the leader” in this domain and is active across the criminal law spectrum, but particularly well known for his defence of corruption, insider dealing, commercial fraud, bribery and money laundering cases, where he has acted for some of Hong Kong’s most prominent political, financial services and commercial figures.

— Chambers & Partners Greater China Region (2022)

Joseph Tse SC is highlighted as a “very senior” and “very popular name at the criminal Bar.” He is active in all areas of the criminal discipline, but particularly well known for his defence of corruption, insider dealing, commercial fraud, bribery and money laundering cases. “his work ethic, excellent client-handling skills and his ability to digest and analyse complex commercial criminal issues,” is impressive and “his advice is tactically sound and he is fearless in his presentation at court.” He is also singled out as “one of Hong Kong’s very best criminal appeals barristers” and for his “good track record in overturning convictions and in reducing sentences.”

— Chambers & Partners Asia Pacific (2021)