Recent ICAC Cases


11
Mar 2021
Duo charged by ICAC jailed for fraud over $20m mortgage loans and money launderingTwo former employees of a solicitors firm, charged by the ICAC, were today (March 11) respectively sentenced to 47 months and 30 months in jail at the District Court for defrauding two licensed money lenders of mortgage loans totalling $20 million and laundering part of the sums.The ICAC case arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent enquiries revealed the offences.Kevin So Kam-wai, 44, former legal clerk of the now defunct K.L. Leung & Co. (KLL-solicitors), received a jail term of 47 months, while Jacky So Yun-yue, 52, former legal executive of KLL-solicitors, was jailed for 30 months.In sentencing, Judge Katherine Lo Kit-yee said Kevin So, who worked in a solicitors firm, had meticulously schemed to commit the offences with clients’ data. What he did had constituted a breach of trust and had dealt a blow to the public’s confidence in solicitors firms. The role played by Jacky So in this case was no less than that of Kevin So, though he acted upon the latter’s instructions.Kevin So was earlier convicted of three charges – two of fraud, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance; and one of using copies of false instruments, contrary to Section 74 of the Crimes Ordinance.Kevin So and Jacky So were also found guilty of one count of dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence, contrary to Section 25(1) of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance.The court heard that at the material time, Kevin So and Jacky So were respectively legal clerk and legal executive of KLL-solicitors. Jacky So was also a director of Chilly Associates Limited (Chilly), an offshore company.Kevin So, as a legal clerk of KLL-solicitors, handled the purchase of a private residential property in Kennedy Town by a couple (the property owners). However, after the transaction was completed in July 2014, the relevant title deed was not furnished to the couple.In November 2014, Kevin So falsely represented to Sky Credit Limited (Sky Credit), a licensed money lender, that he was authorised by the property owners to handle an application for a mortgage loan of $10 million. Relevant documents purportedly signed by the property owners were submitted to Sky Credit.Believing that the documents were genuine, Sky Credit released the loan of $10 million into a bank account of Chilly upon an authorisation purportedly signed by the property owners.ICAC investigation revealed that Jacky So disposed of the loan by transferring over $7.1 million to the bank account of Kevin So and $2.2 million to settle a payment owed to a client of KLL-solicitors. Jacky So kept the remaining $700,000 in his personal bank account.In March 2015, Sky Credit instituted a civil claim against the property owners, KLL-solicitors and Chilly after it discovered that the interest repayments of the loan were running into arrears.The court heard that on March 19, 2015, Kevin So used copies of two letters purportedly issued by the property owners to instruct another solicitors firm, the then employer of Kevin SO, to act on the behalves of the property owners in the civil claim. The property owners were not aware of the civil claim.Between February 1 and June 19, 2015, Kevin So also falsely represented to Jafoon Finance Company (Jafoon), another licensed money lender, that the property owners had authorised him to handle an application for another mortgage loan of $10 million on the property.Believing in Kevin So’s representation which was supported by the authorisation purportedly signed by the property owners, Jafoon released the loan of $10 million, which was later used to repay the loan of Sky Credit.The court heard that the property owners had never obtained or instructed anyone to obtain the aforesaid two loans totalling $20 million.The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Juliana Chow and Senior Public Prosecutor Marcus Lee, assisted by ICAC officer Winnie Fung.
09
Mar 2021
Duo charged with fraud over $130,000 insurance commissionsThe ICAC today (March 9) charged a manager of an insurance company and a down-line agent with fraud for allegedly deceiving the company into paying them commissions totalling over $130,000 by falsely representing that the down-line agent had handled three insurance policies.Tong Chi-chung, senior unit manager of AIA International Limited (AIA); and Hon Sze-lai, financial planner of AIA and Tong’s down-line agent, both 43, jointly face three counts of fraud, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance.The defendants will appear at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (March 11) for plea.The case arose from an investigation into a corruption complaint. Enquiries revealed the above alleged offences which took place between November 2018 and April 2019.AIA is an insurance company. When an insurance agent of AIA sells a product to a client, he/she is required to personally meet the client and complete an insurance application form with information provided by the client. The insurance agent concerned, who would be named the handling agent, and his/her supervisor are entitled to commissions. An insurance agent who is not engaged in selling a product is not allowed to be named the handling agent.At the material time, Tong was a senior unit manager of AIA. He was entitled to overriding commissions from insurance policies procured by his down-line agents, including Hon, who was a financial planner of AIA.The charges allege that Tong and Hon falsely represented to AIA that three insurance policies taken out by three clients were handled by Hon, with intent to defraud, induced AIA to pay a total of over $30,000 to Tong and $100,000 in total to Hon as their respective commissions in connection with those insurance policies, which resulted in benefit to the duo or in prejudice to AIA.AIA has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The defendants have been released on ICAC bail, pending their court appearance on Thursday.
03
Mar 2021
Ex-manager of private wet market charged with bribery and theft involving $230,000A former manager of a private wet market was today (March 3) charged by the ICAC with accepting bribes totalling $34,000 from two tenants over stall leasing matters, and stealing rents and interest payments amounting to a total of over $193,000 from three other tenants.Yip Wing-shing, 60, former market manager of Capital Mark Investment Limited (Capital Mark), faces 16 charges – two of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance; and 14 of theft, contrary to Section 9 of the Theft Ordinance.The defendant will appear at the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts on Friday (March 5) for the case to be transferred to the District Court for plea.Capital Mark is the operator of the wet market of Sunshine City Plaza in Ma On Shan. A tenant is required to pay an accrued interest if he fails to pay rents on or before the due date.At the material time, the defendant was a market manager of Capital Mark. He was responsible for the daily operation of the aforesaid wet market, including handling tenancy matters and collecting rents and interest payments from tenants.One of the bribery charges alleges that on September 18, 2018, the defendant, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, accepted $9,000 from an electrician as an inducement to or reward for referring a stall of the wet market to the latter for subleasing.Another bribery charge alleges that on January 19, 2019, the defendant, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, accepted $25,000 from a restaurant operator as an inducement to or reward for referring another stall of the wet market to the latter to rent.The remaining 14 charges allege that between January 2, 2018 and November 19, 2019, the defendant stole over $193,000 in total, each ranging from $5,000 to about $30,000, from three other tenants, namely another restaurant operator, a fish stall owner and a fruit stall owner.ICAC enquiries revealed that the sums involved rents and interest payments allegedly collected by the defendant from the three tenants.Capital Mark has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The defendant has been released on ICAC bail, pending his court appearance on Friday.
02
Mar 2021
Engineer of air-conditioning contractor charged with fraud over $310,000 maintenance ordersThe ICAC yesterday (March 1) charged an engineer of an air-conditioning contractor with fraud for concealing from and failing to disclose to his employer his financial interest in the maintenance orders worth totalling over $310,000 when sub-contracting them.Lee Chi-wai, 40, senior project engineer of Jinchat Engineering (Hong Kong) Company Limited (Jinchat), faces one count of fraud, contrary to Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance.The defendant will appear at the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (March 3) for plea.The case arose from an investigation into a corruption complaint which subsequently revealed the above alleged offence.Jinchat is an engineering company providing installation and maintenance services for air-conditioning systems to commercial clients. Its employees are required to declare any financial interest they had in any organisation with which Jinchat has business dealings or competitions.At the material time, the defendant was a senior project engineer of Jinchat. He was responsible for assessing air-conditioning works orders placed by clients of Jinchat, and recommending the company to conduct the works by its employees or subcontract them.In September 2017, Jinchat secured an air-conditioning maintenance project at a commercial building in Fortress Hill.The charge alleges between September 20, 2017 and April 23, 2018, the defendant, by concealing from and failing to disclose to Jinchat his financial interest in the works of the aforesaid project which were sub-contracted by Jinchat to Matchy Engineering Company (Matchy), and with intent to defraud, induced Jinchat to engage Matchy in the works, which resulted in benefit to the defendant or in prejudice to Jinchat.ICAC enquiries revealed that during the abovementioned period, Jinchat awarded six maintenance orders worth totalling over $310,000 to Matchy.Jinchat has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The defendant has been released on ICAC bail, pending his court appearance tomorrow.
26
Feb 2021
Ten charged with bribery and stealing $270,000 from ramen shopsThe ICAC today (February 26) charged 10 former employees of two ramen shops, including managers, chefs and waitresses, with conspiring to steal cash proceeds totalling up to about $270,000 from cash tills, and bribery for conniving the misappropriation.The defendants, all formerly employed by Bright Mark Restaurant Limited (Bright Mark), are Chan Ka-tai, 41, former assistant operations manager; Ng Wai-to, 27, former shop manager; Lam Ting-fung, 27, and Lam Wing-sze, 25, both former captains; Yu Hoi-lun, 24, and Yu Sai-ming, 24, both former senior chefs; Lui Kin-shing, 21, and Man Ka-sing, 23, both former chefs; Lau Sui-lin, 29, and Ma Kwan-tung, 22, respectively former waitress and former part-time waitress.They face a total of 12 charges – three of conspiracy to steal, contrary to Section 9 of the Theft Ordinance and Section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance; seven of offering an advantage to an agent, contrary to Section 9(2)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO); and two of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the POBO.The defendants will appear at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts next Tuesday (March 2) for the case to be transferred to the District Court for plea.At the material time, all defendants were employed by Bright Mark, which operated a number of ramen shops in Hong Kong under two brand names—Bari-Uma Ramen and Fu-Unmaru.Chan was an assistant operations manager of Bright Mark, who was responsible for inspecting the overall operations of the Tseung Kwan O branch of Bari-Uma Ramen and the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of Fu-Unmaru.According to Bright Mark’s policy, food orders made by customers must be input into a computer system. Staff members are not allowed to place verbal food orders with kitchen staff.Nine of the 12 charges are related to the alleged misappropriation of cash proceeds up to over $220,000 and corrupt connivance of such stealing which took place at the Tseung Kwan O branch of Bari-Uma Ramen between August 2017 and November 2018.One of the charges alleges that shop manager Ng, captain Lam Ting-fung, senior chefs Yu Hoi-lun and Yu Sai-ming, chefs Lui and Man, waitress Lau and part-time waitress Ma conspired together and with a then head chef of Bright Mark to steal cash from the cash till.Another charge alleges that captain Lam Ting-fung, chefs Lui and Man, and waitress Lau conspired together and with the aforesaid head chef to steal cash from the cash till.Three other charges allege that captain Lam Ting-fung, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, offered bribes totalling $6,000 to the aforesaid head chef as an inducement to or reward for conniving Lam Ting-fung’s stealing of cash from the cash till.Four other charges allege that captain Lam Ting-fung, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, offered bribes totalling $9,000 to chef Lui as an inducement to or reward for complying with verbal food orders made to kitchen staff of the branch.The remaining three charges concerned the alleged misappropriation of cash proceeds up to $45,000 and corrupt connivance of such stealing which took place at the Tsim Sha Tsui branch of Fu-Unmaru between August and November 2018.One of the charges alleges that shop manager Ng, captain Lam Wing-sze and part-time waitress Ma conspired together and with the aforesaid head chef to steal cash from the cash till.Two other charges allege that assistant operations manager Chan, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, accepted bribes totalling $4,000 from shop manager Ng as an inducement to or reward for conniving Ng’s stealing of cash from the cash till.Bright Mark has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The defendants have been released on ICAC bail, pending their court appearance next Tuesday.

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