Recent ICAC Cases


20
Apr 2023
Insurance agent charged as ICAC graft probe reveals alleged $1.5m commissions fraudAn insurance agent was charged by the ICAC today (April 20) for allegedly defrauding an insurer of commissions totalling about $1.5 million by making false representations that 20 clients had taken out various insurance policies.Yeung Yan-to, 31, former insurance agent of AXA China Region Insurance Company Limited (AXA), faces two counts of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to the Common Law. He will be brought to the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (April 21) for plea.At the material time, the defendant was an insurance agent of AXA, while a branch manager of AXA was his up-line agent. When an insurance product was sold, the handling agent and his/her up-line manager would be entitled to a first-year commission and an overriding commission respectively.Between August 2017 and June 2018, AXA received 21 insurance policy applications purportedly taken out by 20 clients and handled by the defendant or another down-line agent of the branch manager.It is alleged that the defendant had conspired with the branch manager and the down-line agent to defraud AXA by dishonestly falsely representing to the insurer that the applications were genuinely made by those clients, causing AXA to approve the applications and release commissions to the trio.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Investigation revealed that the clients did not make the above applications and had never paid any premium for the policies. Those insurance policies eventually lapsed after subsequent premiums were not paid.Had AXA known that the 21 applications contained false information, it would not have approved them and released commissions totalling about $1.5 million to the defendant, the branch manager and the down-line agent.AXA has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
20
Apr 2023
Ex-employee of fast food restaurant chain charged by ICAC admits concealing conflict of interest in works contractorA former assistant engineer of a fast food restaurant chain, charged by the ICAC, today (April 20) admitted at the Fanling Magistrates’ Courts that he had deceived the restaurant chain into awarding two works projects to a contractor by concealing that he was the latter’s major shareholder.Chan Yiu-wa, 53, former assistant engineer of Café de Coral Group Limited (Café de Coral Group), pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, contrary to Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance.Acting Principal Magistrate Mr Colin Wong Sze-cheung adjourned the case to May 3 for sentence, pending the defendant’s background and community service order reports. The defendant was granted bail.The court heard that the defendant was Café de Coral Group’s assistant engineer between February and early December 2021. Among other duties, he was responsible for sourcing quotations from contractors for engineering and maintenance works for a plant of Café de Coral Holdings Limited (Café de Coral Holdings) – the parent company of Café de Coral Group.As set out in the employee handbook of Café de Coral Holdings, employees of Café de Coral Holdings and its subsidiaries should avoid any conflict of interest. An employee must declare to Café de Coral Holdings if he or she has any interest in an organisation which has business dealings with Café de Coral Holdings and its subsidiaries.Between March and September 2021, the defendant was assigned to source quotations from contractors for two works projects – a replacement work of a security booth and a maintenance work of an air-conditioning system for the abovementioned plant.The defendant submitted three quotations for each of the projects and recommended Café de Coral Holdings to award the project to Leading Gain Engineering Co. Limited (Leading Gain) on both occasions. The two works projects, involving payments totalling about $70,000, were eventually awarded to Leading Gain.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Enquiries revealed that the defendant was the sole director and major shareholder of Leading Gain at the material time. However, the defendant had never made any declaration to Café de Coral Holdings over the issue. Had Café de Coral Holdings known of the directorship and shareholding of the defendant in Leading Gain, it would not have engaged Leading Gain to carry out the two works projects.Café de Coral Holdings had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer William Leung.The ICAC reminds employees to avoid conflict of interest situations and to make timely declarations to their employers. Concealing any conflict of interest in relation to one’s official duties to benefit himself or his associates may contravene the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and other criminal law.The ICAC recommends companies to establish clear guidelines and declaration systems of conflict of interest with which employees should strictly comply. “How to handle conflict of interest"
19
Apr 2023
Ex-site team leaders charged by ICAC with accepting $100,000 bribes from Third Runway Project’s bar-bendersTwo former site team leaders of a sub-contractor of the Third Runway Project of the Hong Kong International Airport (Third Runway Project) were charged by the ICAC today (April 19) with accepting illegal rebates totalling about $100,000 from five bar-benders for continuing their employment with the sub-contractor.Xu Ergao, 47; and Guo Tianbao, 42, both former site team leaders for bar-bending works of MLife Engineering Limited (MEL), face five counts of conspiracy for agents to accept advantages, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. They were released on ICAC bail, pending their appearance at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts for plea on Friday (April 21).MEL was a sub-contractor of the Third Runway Project responsible for recruiting construction workers to conduct various works. Xu and Guo were site team leaders leading the same team of bar-benders working at the project’s construction site.It is alleged that between August 2020 and April 2021, the two defendants conspired with five bar-benders separately to accept five illegal rebates, each ranging from about $3,900 to about $33,000 and totalling about $100,000, to assist the five bar-benders to continue their employment with MEL.An ICAC spokesperson urges construction workers not to tolerate corruption. Should they be asked to pay illegal rebates in exchange for their employment, they should report to the ICAC immediately. Report corruption hotline: 25 266 366.In recent years, the ICAC had taken a series of enforcement actions against illicit acceptance of illegal rebates from construction workers. Regarding the Third Runway Project, 23 former employees of the main contractor and a sub-contractor of the project were charged by the ICAC with bribery. Eleven of the defendants had pleaded guilty or were found guilty after trial, receiving sentences up 10 months in jail. Nine others are awaiting trial, while the prosecution offered no evidence against a defendant. The remaining duo are the defendants in this case, who will enter plea on Friday.As the relevant investigation is continuing, the ICAC does not rule out further law enforcement actions.The Airport Authority Hong Kong, the relevant main contractor SAPR JV and MEL have rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
19
Apr 2023
Ex-bank manager charged by ICAC admits bribing colleague for referring mortgage loan clients to financial intermediaryA former bank manager, charged by the ICAC, today (April 19) admitted at the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts that she had bribed a colleague for referring residential mortgage loan clients of a subsidiary of the bank to a financial intermediary for arranging mortgage refinancing from other banks or financial institutions.Amy Chow Bik-sum, 47, former assistant customer service manager of OCBC Wing Hang Bank Limited (OCBC Wing Hang Bank), pleaded guilty to one count of offering an advantage to an agent, contrary to Section 9(2) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.Deputy Magistrate Ms Erica Chong Ching-wai adjourned the case to May 5 for sentence, pending the defendant’s background and community service order reports. The defendant was remanded in the custody of the Correctional Services Department.At the material time, the defendant was posted to a branch of OCBC Wing Hang Bank in Tsim Sha Tsui. She was required to handle residential mortgage applications. OCBC Wing Hang Credit Limited (OCBC Credit) is a subsidiary of OCBC Wing Hang Bank.The court heard that on July 15, 2021, the defendant requested a colleague to refer residential mortgage loan clients of OCBC Credit to a financial intermediary for arranging mortgage refinancing from other banks or financial institutions so that the financial intermediary could earn the relevant referral fees. The defendant promised to offer 70 per cent of the referral fees to the colleague as commissions.OCBC Wing Hang Bank did not allow its employees to offer, solicit or accept advantages its relation to its business. The defendant’s colleague did not accept the offer.OCBC Wing Hang Bank had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Marc Andrew Corlett, assisted by ICAC officer Pan Pan.To enhance the corruption prevention capabilities of banks, the ICAC has recently launched the “Corruption Prevention Guide for Banks” which assists banks in managing corruption risks in core operations through analysing case scenarios and providing corresponding corruption prevention safeguards. To promote probity culture in the banking sector, an Ethics Promotion Programme for the Banking Industry was also launched, under which a self-learning animation series “Unveil the Secret: Integrity Myths in the Banking Industry” was produced to help frontline bank staff understand common corruption loopholes.
09
Feb 2023
Security supervisor jailed for soliciting bribes from subordinateA security supervisor, charged by the ICAC, was today (February 7) sentenced to five months’ imprisonment at the Shatin Magistrates’ Courts for soliciting bribes of over $10,000 from a subordinate security guard for assisting the latter to get promoted to assistant security supervisor.Luk Pui-suet, 54, supervisor of Hong Kong Guards Limited (HKGL), was earlier found guilty of two counts of agent soliciting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO).In sentencing, Magistrate Mr Pang Leung-ting reprimanded Luk for showing no remorse. The offences involved were serious in nature since Luk solicited advantages from a subordinate in her capacity as a direct supervisor so as to exert influence over the subordinate’s promotion. The magistrate took a starting point of six months’ imprisonment and reduced Luk’s jail term by one month after taking into account various mitigating factors.The court heard that at the material time, Luk was an assistant supervisor of HKGL posted to Shui Chuen O Estate, a public housing estate in Shatin. She was one of the three assistant supervisors of the estate responsible for assisting to manage about 40 security guards.In November 2020, one of the security guards Tang Kam-ngau asked Luk about his chance of promotion. Tang believed that Luk would succeed the then supervisor after the latter’s retirement in mid-December 2020, leading to an assistant supervisor vacant post.Afterwards, Luk told Tang on two occasions that she would assume the post of supervisor and solicited two bribes, one of $5,000 to $8,000 and another of at least $5,000, from Tang for assisting him to get promoted to assistant supervisor.Tang gave Luk a red packet containing $2,000 cash, but Luk did not accept the red packet as the amount did not meet $5,000.HKGL prohibited its staff members from soliciting and accepting advantages in relation to their official duties. HKGL had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.Tang Kam-ngau, the security guard concerned, was earlier charged by the ICAC with bribery in a separate case. He pleaded guilty to three counts of offering an advantage to an agent and sentencing was adjourned to this Friday (February 10).The prosecution was today represented by Senior Public Prosecutor Rosa Lo, assisted by ICAC officer Jeff Ng.

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