Haldanes Solicitors and Notaries
7th Floor, Ruttonjee House, 11 Duddell Street
Central, Hong Kong
Felix Ng is a favourite among peers and clients, who say he "has the edge of being bilingual and experienced in criminal litigations".
Felix is a partner at the criminal defence department of Haldanes, and the head of the firm’s competition and antitrust practice. He specialises in complex white-collar crime, competition law and securities regulatory matters, particularly those relating to listed companies, international financial institutions and multinational corporations. He advises a broad spectrum of international clients on multijurisdictional investigations and court proceedings given his professional proficiency in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish.
You have a wide-ranging white-collar crime practice – what types of cases do you enjoy working on most?
White-collar crime is a fascinating and booming area of practice in Hong Kong and Asia. I particularly enjoy handling commercial fraud, market misconduct and corruption cases, which often involve complex evidential analysis and legal arguments that excite me. At Haldanes, we are very blessed to have gathered a large team of very dedicated criminal lawyers without whom managing sizeable cases would not have been possible.
Recently, my team of six and I have managed to secure an acquittal for two former public doctors who faced charges of Conspiracy to Commit Misconduct in Public Office (MIPO) after a highly publicised 86-day trial at the District Court. It was in fact one of the longest MIPO trials in Hong Kong’s history with 94 prosecution witnesses, voluminous prosecution materials, and complex legal arguments concerning the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)’s search warrants, admissibility of digital evidence and surveillance records, and elements of MIPO offences.
You are admitted to practice in three different jurisdictions globally. How does this enhance your practice?
I hold practising certificates in Hong Kong, England and Wales and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) – they mean much more than “CV boosters”, which make you look good. From time to time, I have been asked by my clients and friends to provide swift practical advice on matters relating to England and Wales and DIFC and certify their documents for legal purposes.
Business nowadays has become increasingly international and having the ability and knowledge of numerous jurisdictions offers a better experience to my clients.
How does your global network of colleagues benefit your practice?
At Haldanes, we have a great mix of people from different nationalities and all walks of life. This diversity provides a welcoming working environment and allows our lawyers to cater to the needs of a broad spectrum of clients.
On a global level, I am very active in the International Bar Association (IBA) and have been an officer for the Young Lawyers Committee, Criminal Law Committee and Business Crime Committee respectively for over a decade, and frequently participate in international conferences as a speaker.
This makes me one of the most resourceful lawyers in the field, both “inbound” and “outbound”, since I have internal connections at my fingertips – to give you an example, I recently got a Iranian corporate client on a litigation case referred by a Singaporean law firm, and recommended a few Turkish lawyer friends to our commercial partner for a case in Istanbul.
A growing number of countries are getting more active in investigating corporate misconduct allegations.
What are the main challenges for companies in your jurisdiction when they are facing multinational investigations and why?
Multinational investigations are on the rise especially in the last decade, particularly due to the cross-border nature of criminal offences such as cyber-fraud and money laundering, and the extraterritorial reach of legislations in some major jurisdictions, for example, FCPA and FATCA in the US, and Bribery Act 2010 in the UK.
Often, our clients facing global investigations would face the challenges in navigating the regulatory framework of numerous countries, with vast differences in substantive laws and procedures. This would also translate into difficulties for clients in identifying the appropriate overseas law firms, and escalating legal fees on instructing different teams of lawyers. I am fortunate enough to have a global network of lawyer contacts, which allows me to be the “one stop shop” case manager for clients in multijurisdictional cases.
How has increasing coordination among enforcement authorities globally impacted your practice?
Our clients are more likely facing multinational investigations nowadays and therefore we as legal practitioners are required to have an international vision and understand the rapid changes worldwide. As a firm, we encourage and actively distribute our resources for our practitioners to network with legal practitioners both locally and internationally and understand the changing landscape in different jurisdictions.
How do you anticipate the changing landscape in Hong Kong will impact its legal market?
The new National Security Law (NSL) and the potential changes to the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance have definitely raised a lot of concerns amongst the international corporations. We are getting a lot of advisory work from our global technology and social media companies, and interviews from international press. However, the NSL is still at its infancy and we are waiting for the court judgments to roll out to provide further clarity on the controversial provisions.
In which direction would you like to steer your practice in the next five years?
Currently, I specialise in criminal defence, regulatory and disciplinary matters and competition law. The former two have been my main practice for years and I have really enjoyed those areas. Competition law has been a booming practice in the last few years, thanks to the vigorous enforcement actions by the competition commission in Hong Kong. On a national level, the mainland Chinese regulatory authorities have recently tightened its anti-monopoly grip on the technology gurus with hefty penalties. Therefore, I am looking forward to expanding Haldanes’ competition and antitrust practice in the next five years and we will be involved in more cases.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
I am one of the very few among my fellow law schoolmates who have not switched law firms over the last 18 years of practice. My greatest achievement to date is establishing myself from a trainee solicitor all the way to an equity partner at Haldanes, while playing an instrumental role in growing the firm from about 30 people to over 130 and promoting the brand globally.