Hong Kong tycoons in the dock as city's biggest ever corruption trial opens
September 4, 2014 -- Updated 0643 GMT (1443 HKT)
Thomas Kwok (C) is surrounded by the media and security as he arrives at court in Hong Kong on October 12, 2012.
- Property tycoons Thomas and Raymond Kwok in court on graft charges
- Charges include conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, furnishing false information
- Their company, Sun Hung Kai, built some of the tallest buildings in the city's celebrated skyline
Hong Kong (CNN) -- Two billionaire brothers who control Asia's biggest property development company have gone on trial in Hong Kong's biggest ever corruption case.
Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) co-chairmen Thomas and Raymond Kwok were among five people charged with a total of eight offenses, including conspiracy to offer advantages to a public servant and misconduct in public office, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said in a statement.
The two brothers are ranked 86th on the 2014 Forbes list of the world's richest people.
Hong Kong's former chief secretary Rafael Hui, banker Francis Kwan and Thomas Chan -- responsible for land acquisitions for SHKP -- were the other men charged after one of the biggest anti-graft probes in the banking hub's history.
READ: Tycoon arrests rock Hong Kong
Hong Kong tycoons profess innocence
Hui, previously the city's No.2, faces charges related to misconduct in public office, including the acceptance of rent-free apartments and unsecured loans -- he's the highest-ranking former official to face trial in the city.
All five defendants plead "not guilty" to each of the charges.
The ICAC revealed the offenses took place between 2000 and 2009 as investigators probed land sales overseen by Hui involving SHKP.
The case has caused a media frenzy in the city, where real estate is a local obsession. Sun Hung Kai, which helped to build some of the tallest buildings in the city's celebrated skyline, contributed to the Kwok brothers' estimated $18.3 billion fortune.
The brothers, who were arrested in March 2012, have always protested their innocence.
"I can say that personally I have done nothing wrong. And I can vouch for Mr. Thomas Kwok that he has done nothing wrong either," Raymond Kwok said at a news conference on April 2012, referring to his brother.
"I hope this investigation will clear my name," he said at the time.
Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, is considered to be one of the world's least corrupt territories. According to Transparency International's 2013 Corruptions Perceptions Index, Hong Kong is the 15th least corrupt territory in the world -- with the United States, by comparison, ranked 19th.
CNN's Vivian Kam contributed reporting.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.