Recent ICAC Cases

26
Jul 2022
Property agent charged by ICAC with bribery over rent concessions of claw machine shop in pandemic
A property agent was charged by the ICAC today (July 26) with soliciting and accepting bribes totalling $41,000 for assisting a tenant operating a claw machine shop to negotiate with the landlord for rent concessions and lease renewal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chung Sau-man, 56, former property agent of Land Master & Associates (Shop) Limited (Land Master), faces a total of six charges – three of agent accepting an advantage and one of agent soliciting for an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance; and two of incitement to furnish false information, contrary to Common Law and Section 19(1)(b) of the Theft Ordinance.

Ng Chi-hung, 56, boyfriend of Chung, was also charged with one count of false accounting, contrary to Section 19(1)(a) of the Theft Ordinance. The duo were released on ICAC bail, pending their appearance in the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (July 28) for plea.

The alleged offences took place between July and October 2020. At the material time, Chung was a property agent of Land Master. Apart from procuring property transactions, property agents of Land Master were responsible for providing post-transaction services to clients, including assisting them in the negotiation of rental adjustment or renewal of tenancy agreement. Normally Land Master would not charge its clients for the post-transaction services provided.

Chung was the handling property agent of a lease transaction in which a tenant rented a shop in Mong Kok for operating claw machine business at a monthly rental of $140,000 for a year starting from December 2019. In view of the pandemic situation, the tenant had engaged Chung to assist in negotiations with the landlord on rent concessions since early 2020.

The four bribery charges allege that Chung, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, accepted three bribes totalling $21,000 and solicited another bribe of $20,000 from the tenant as an inducement to or reward for assisting the tenant to negotiate with the landlord for reducing the monthly rental and renewing its lease.

Two other charges allege that Chung unlawfully incited the tenant to dishonestly furnish false information to its auditor on the operating expenditure incurred, making use of five false receipts purportedly issued by a renovation contractor showing that the contractor was charging the tenant for services rendered.

The remaining charge alleges that Ng dishonestly falsified three of the above false receipts made for an accounting purpose.

It is alleged that the false receipts concerned were used to cover up bribe payments made to Chung.

The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Land Master has rendered full assistance to the Commission during its investigation into the case.
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