Recent ICAC Cases


31
Aug 2021
Ex-insurance agent admits earning commissions by false education backgroundA former insurance agent, charged by the ICAC, today (August 31) admitted at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts that she had obtained an opportunity to earn commissions in an employment with an insurance agency by making false representation of her education background.Wu Huali, 38, former insurance agent of AIA international Limited (AIA), pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception, contrary to Section 18(1) of the Theft Ordinance.Principal Magistrate Miss Ivy Chui Yee-mei adjourned the case to September 16 for sentence, pending a community service order report. The defendant was granted cash bail.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the above offence.The court heard that at the material time, all newly recruited insurance agents were required to register with the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) via their respective insurance companies before they were qualified to sell insurance products. As required by the HKFI, insurance agents must attain education of Form 5 level or equivalent.On or about July 1, 2018, the defendant made a job application with AIA by submitting an application form and a graduation certificate. She stated in the application form that she had studied at a college in the Mainland from September 2001 to July 2004 and had obtained a diploma.The graduate certificate and other relevant documents were then sent to the HKFI for registration and the defendant was employed by AIA as an insurance agent on August 1, 2018.During her employment with AIA between August 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019, the defendant earned commissions totalling over $34,000.The court heard that the defendant knew that her educational level could not meet the minimum requirement of AIA, she paid RMB 4,000 to an unidentified person for falsifying her graduate certificate.Had AIA known that the defendant had never attained education of Form 5 level or equivalent or the graduation certificate was false, it would not have recruited her as an insurance agent.The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer Frank Lok.
31
Aug 2021
Hotel manager charged with bribery over engineering and maintenance worksAn assistant manager of a hotel was charged by the ICAC today (August 31) with conspiracy to accept a bribe of $15,000 from a works contractor for allowing staff members of the hotel to assist in engineering and maintenance works which should have been done by the contractor.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the ICAC sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised charging the hotel assistant manager.Wong Sai-kwong, 69, executive assistant manager of The Fleming, faces one count of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and Section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.The defendant was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (September 2) for plea.At the material time, the defendant was the executive assistant manager of The Fleming, a hotel in Wan Chai. He was the direct supervisor of an engineer of The Fleming who was responsible for supervising all engineering and maintenance works of the hotel.The charge alleges that in around February 2019, the defendant conspired together with the aforesaid engineer of The Fleming, a director-cum-shareholder of a works contractor of the Fleming and other persons unknown, to accept $15,000 from the director-cum-shareholder, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, as an inducement to or reward for arranging or allowing staff members of The Fleming to assist in the works which should have been completed by the works contractor.The Fleming has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
31
Aug 2021
Consultant guilty of fraud over sale and purchase of businessA consultant of a business brokerage firm, charged by the ICAC, was today (August 31) convicted of deceiving the seller and buyer of a tutorial centre over the transaction price of the sale and purchase of the tutorial centre.Cheuk Yat-long, 35, business consultant of HKBX Company Limited (HKBX), was found guilty of one count of fraud, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance.Magistrate Miss Veronica Heung Shuk-han adjourned the case to September 17 for sentence, pending a background report. The defendant was remanded in the custody of the Correctional Services Department.The case arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the above offence.The court heard that at the material time, the defendant was a business consultant of HKBX, a business brokerage firm procuring the sale and purchase of business ventures for prospective sellers and buyers. He was responsible for assisting the two parties in the negotiation and discussion regarding the sale and purchase of businesses.In mid-March 2019, the owner of a tutorial centre in Shenzhen engaged HKBX to look for a buyer for the tutorial centre and the asking price was RMB 200,000. Upon the suggestion of HKBX, the owner agreed to set a higher listed price to RMB 428,000 on its sales platform to leave room for negotiation.A prospective buyer later indicated interest in purchasing the tutorial centre and instructed the defendant to negotiate with the seller to lower the price. Without consulting the seller, the defendant informed the prospective buyer that the seller agreed to lower the price to RMB 400,000. The prospective buyer accepted the offer. The defendant then arranged both parties to sign a sale and purchase agreement separately.In addition, the defendant arranged the seller to sign a listing agreement which stated that the latter would only receive RMB 200,000 for selling the tutorial centre. The defendant had never disclosed to the seller that the actual transaction price was RMB 400,000, and he did not disclose that HKBX would pocket the price difference of RMB 200,000 out of the transaction.The buyer believed that the tutorial centre would be sold at a consideration of RMB 400,000 and paid the same to HKBX. He also paid HK$40,000 as its service fee.The court heard that the seller eventually only received RMB 200,000 from HKBX. The defendant received over HK$82,000 as commission from HKBX for the sale and purchase concerned.Had the buyer known that the intended selling price of the tutorial centre was lower than the sum he actually paid, and that HKBX had pocketed the price difference, the buyer would not have entered into the transaction. The seller would not have signed the listing agreement and agreed to receive only RMB 200,000 had he known that the buyer in fact offered to purchase the tutorial centre at RMB 400,000.The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Eddie Sean, assisted by ICAC officer Peter Chow.
24
Aug 2021
Government works consultant staff charged as graft probe reveals false certificates in slope reportsA former principal engineer of a government works consultant was charged by the ICAC yesterday (August 23) with conspiracy to use false independent checking certificates and a false Ecological Appraisal Report in relation to three landslip prevention projects to deceive three government departments.The ICAC investigation arose from corruption complaints referred by the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the Highways Department (HyD).Upon completion of the investigation, the ICAC sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised charging Calvin Wong Ka-tsun, 45, former principal engineer of Jacobs China Limited (Jacobs China), with five counts of conspiracy to use false instruments, contrary to Sections 73 and 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.The defendant was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (August 25) for the case to be transferred to the District Court for plea.Since 2010, Jacobs China had been engaged by the CEDD and the HyD as the consultant of three landslip prevention and mitigation projects. For each project, Jacobs China was required to conduct inspections by assessing the conditions of around 100 to 300 man-made slopes and around 20 natural hillside catchments, to prepare relevant upgrading and mitigation works designs, and to oversee the construction works conducted by relevant contractors.Under the projects, Jacobs China was required to submit reports supported by Independent Checking Certificates in respect of the proposed upgrading and mitigation works to the two departments. An Independent Checking Certificate endorsed by an independent checking engineer was required to certify that the design by Jacobs China was in the interest of public safety and did not pose any potential landslide hazards.In one of the CEDD projects, Jacobs China was also required to submit an Ecological Appraisal Report to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to confirm the impact on any species of conservation importance within the proposed works site.At the material time, the defendant was a principal engineer of Jacobs China responsible for the daily operation and management of the aforesaid CEDD and HyD projects, including submission of reports to the departments.Four of the charges allege that between March 1, 2015 and July 11, 2018, the defendant conspired with four subordinates to use 11 Independent Checking Certificates purportedly signed by an independent checking engineer, which were and which they knew or believed to be false, with the intention of inducing staff of the CEDD and the HyD to accept them as genuine, and by reason of so accepting them to do or not to do some acts to the two departments’ or any other person’s prejudice.The remaining charge alleges that between September 18 and 23, 2015, the defendant conspired with one of the aforesaid subordinates to use an Ecological Appraisal Report purportedly issued by an ecological consultancy, which was and which they knew or believed to be false, with the intention of inducing staff of the AFCD to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some acts to the AFCD’s or any other person’s prejudice.The three government departments and other involved companies have rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
20
Aug 2021
Duo jailed for $350,000 fraud over reinstatement projectA former employee of a renovation contractor and a former manager of an art finance service provider, charged by the ICAC, were today (August 20) sentenced to jail terms up to seven and a half months at the District Court for conspiracy to defraud the art finance service provider over reinstatement works worth $350,000.Johnson Kwok Cheng-son, 45, former employee of Bigred Design Company (Bigred), was sentenced to seven and a half months imprisonment. He was earlier found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law.Co-defendant Lam Cheuk-ho, 33, former event project and operation manager of China Art Financial Holdings Limited (China Art Financial), who earlier pleaded guilty to the aforesaid charge, received a jail term of six months.In sentencing, Deputy District Judge Miss Lily Wong Sze-lai remarked that the defendants deserved immediate custodial sentences since their conduct breached the trust placed on them and impaired fair competitions in the commercial world.The case arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the above offence.The court heard that at the material time, Lam was the event project and operation manager of China Art Financial, which was an art finance service provider engaged in art auction business. Artfund International (Hong Kong) Auction Company Limited (Artfund) was a subsidiary of China Art Financial. Kwok was an employee of Bigred, a renovation contractor of Artfund.In early 2018, Artfund rented an office at a commercial building in Wan Chai and engaged Bigred to renovate it as a showroom. A few months later, China Art Financial decided to abort the renovation project and disputed the termination fee with Bigred.Lam was instructed by China Art Financial to look for another contractor to reinstate the half renovated showroom before terminating the leasing contract. Bigred wanted to bid for the reinstatement project but was not allowed to do so.The court heard that Lam and Kwok then conspired together to defraud Artfund by dishonestly using a small renovation project contractor owned by an associate of Kwok’s brother as a vehicle to bid for the reinstatement project.On August 8, 2018, Lam submitted six quotations to China Art Financial for the reinstatement project. One of the quotations at $368,000, which was personally handled by Kwok, was from the small renovation project contractor.A few days later, Lam asked Kwok to lower his bid by $20,000 to $350,000 as the quoting price of another bidder was very close to that of the small renovation project contractor’s.Kwok agreed to lower the bidding price and the reinstatement project was eventually awarded to the small renovation project contractor at $350,000. But the project was in fact conducted by Bigred.Had China Art Financial known that the reinstatement project was conducted by Bigred, it would not have awarded the project to the small renovation project contractor, the court heard.China Art Financial had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Newman Wong, assisted by ICAC officer Rosita Lee.

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