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Billionaire Seng wants to stroll NYC, not sit in house arrest

In this courtroom sketch, defendant Ng Lap Seng

In this courtroom sketch, defendant Ng Lap Seng is seated in court at the defense table with his attorney during his arraignment on bribery charges in New York City, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The billionaire businessman is accused of bribing a former president of the United Nations General Assembly. Photo Credit: AP / Elizabeth Williams

The Chinese billionaire accused last October in a United Nations bribery scandal in federal court in Manhattan is finding that even in his $4 million midtown apartment, a year of confinement awaiting trial is no fun.

A lawyer for developer Ng Lap Seng, who was allowed to stay in his apartment under armed security guard instead being held in jail, told U.S. District Judge Vincent Broderick that he needs field trips to alleviate “severe mental and physical hardship.”

“Mr. Ng would like to have at least one day a week to be outside of his residence, to walk in a park, to dine at a restaurant, to shop, to visit a museum, city landmarks, library or bookstores, or simply to be outside of his apartment to relieve the stresses of home confinement,” lawyer Hugh Mo wrote in a letter filed late Tuesday.

Ng is charged with paying bribes to try to get UN support for a conference center for underdeveloped countries that he wanted to build in Macau. Over government opposition last year, he was allowed to pay a security firm to guard him in his apartment while awaiting his January trial.

Mo’s letter said that among the stresses of the current arrangement was the “omnipresence of 24-hour security monitors in his apartment.” He said his days out would all be south of 50th St. with his security team, and would create no greater risk than doctor, lawyer and barber visits he is already allowed.

Ng, 68, has also secured a $50 million bail bond with $20 million cash and his apartment, and is tracked by GPS monitoring in addition to the armed guards.

A spokesman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara had no comment on the request.


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