<HTML><HEAD> <META name=GENERATOR content="MSHTML 8.00.6001.19019"></HEAD> <BODY> <H1 class="cN-headingPage prepend-5 span-11 last">Plea for Ng heralds new charges as case complicates China relations </H1> <DIV class="push-0 span-11 last"><!-- cT-storyDetails --> <DIV class="cT-storyDetails cfix"> <H5>John Garnaut </H5><CITE>July 29, 2011</CITE> <!--<ul> --><!-- --></DIV> <DIV id=googleAds class="ad adSpot-textBox"></DIV><BOD> <DIV class=articleBody><!-- cT-imageLandscape --> <DIV class=cT-imageLandscape><IMG alt="No contact ... Matthew Ng and his wife Niki Chow." src="ctsipad-art-wide-560911544-420x0.jpg"> <P>No contact ... Matthew Ng and his wife Niki Chow. </P></DIV> <P>GUANGZHOU city authorities have levelled new charges against the Australian tourism executive Matthew Ng, as the Trade Minister, Craig Emerson, prepares to lead 100 Australian businessmen on a tour of the city next week. </P> <P>The setting of a trial date , 9am on August 9, adds clarity to the case but the additional charges complicate the relationship between the two countries.</P> <P>The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, raised concerns about Mr Ng's case with the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, while visiting Beijing in April.</P> <P>Confidantes say Mr Ng, in custody in Guanghzou, has recovered from a period of depression and has rediscovered his ''fighting spirit'' now that a date has been set.</P> <P>He has also engaged one of China's most respected, courageous and connected lawyers, Chen Youxi, who this year achieved the rare feat of having charges dropped against a high-profile client, the lawyer Li Zhuang.</P> <P>''I think it will be a battle in the court,'' one close observer said, noting that several up-and-coming Chinese criminal lawyers were planning to watch and learn from the spectacle.</P> <P>Mr Ng headed a London-listed company, Et-China, which owned a majority of the Guangzhou travel company GZL with Guangzhou Lingnan. </P> <P>Mr Ng has had visits from lawyers and Australian consular officials but has been prevented from seeing his wife, Niki Chow, and his four children.</P> <P>Sources close to Mr Ng say they were appalled to learn of three new charges, notified without details, on top of a $100,000 embezzlement charge relating to company expenses.</P> <P>The new charges relate to misappropriating company funds, under-registering company capital and bribery.</P></DIV></BOD></DIV></BODY></HTML>