Recent ICAC Cases

Sep 2023
Ex-flight attendants charged by ICAC jailed for accepting HK$90,000 bribes over staff travel benefits

Three former flight attendants of an airline company, charged by the ICAC, were today (September 7) sentenced to jail terms ranging from five to six months at the District Court for accepting bribes totalling about HK$90,000 for assisting others to enjoy staff benefits to purchase air tickets at concessionary rates.

Lau Ching-man, 36, former flight purser of Cathay Pacific Airways Limited (Cathay Pacific), was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. Lee Chung-fai, 28, and Wong Oi-ting, 33, both former flight attendants of Cathay Pacific, were both jailed for five months.

Judge Mr Anthony Kwok Kai-on also ordered the three defendants to pay a total of around US$11,500 (about HK$90,000), equivalent to the amount of bribes involved, as restitution to Cathay Pacific.

Lau earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantage, while Lee and Wong were each found guilty of one count of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantage, all contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.

The court heard that at the material time, Lau was a flight purser of Cathay Pacific, while Lee and Wong were its flight attendants. Under the “Companion Travel Scheme” (the Scheme), each employee of Cathay Pacific was allowed to nominate a partner, sibling, family member or friend to be a travelling companion who would be able to purchase air tickets of Cathay Pacific and its partner airlines at concessionary rates.

In 2018, Lau started to discuss her travelling companion nomination with an overseas fashion designer she got to know online. She subsequently accepted bribes totalling at least US$1,500 (about HK$12,000) for nominating the fashion designer as her travelling companion. As a result, the fashion designer purchased 20 sectors of air tickets at concessionary rates, involving a price difference totalling at least about HK$330,000.

Between late 2018 and early 2019, Lau and the fashion designer contacted again to discuss how to arrange Lau’s colleagues to nominate two friends of the fashion designer as their travelling companions. Lau then contacted Lee and Wong to discuss the nomination arrangements.

Afterwards, Lau, Lee and Wong respectively accepted bribes of about US$1,500 (about HK$12,000), about US$5,000 (about HK$39,000) and about US$3,500 (about HK$27,000) for nominating the two friends of the fashion designer as Lee and Wong’s travelling companions. The two friends subsequently purchased 29 sectors of air tickets at concessionary rates, involving a price difference totalling at least about HK$530,000.

Cathay Pacific prohibited its staff from receiving advantages for nominating others as their travelling companions. Had Cathay Pacific known that the three defendants received advantages in relation to their travelling companion nominations, it would not have approved the nominations and issued the concessionary flight tickets.

Cathay Pacific had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The prosecution was today represented by Senior Public Prosecutor Fergus Chau, assisted by ICAC officer Anthony Chan.

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