Recent ICAC Cases


28
Jun 2022
Estate agent charged by ICAC with soliciting ‘tea money’ from flat owner for negotiating higher selling priceThe ICAC today (June 28) charged an estate agent for allegedly soliciting a “tea money” of $9,000 from a flat owner for negotiating a higher selling price of the latter’s residential property at $4.568 million.Yeung Tak-ming, 64, property agent of Centaline Property Agency Limited (Centaline Property), faces one count of agent soliciting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO). He was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance in the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (June 30) for plea.Around April to May 2020, a flat owner engaged Centaline Property to sell his residential property in Tuen Mun. In early August, a potential buyer was arranged by the defendant to view the property but the offer did not meet the flat owner’s target. The flat owner subsequently told the defendant that $4.55 million was the lowest agreeable selling price. The property was eventually sold to the buyer at $4.568 million, which was $18,000 higher than the price required by the flat owner.The charge alleges that on or about August 9, 2020, the defendant, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, solicited a “tea money” of $9,000 from the above flat owner, as an inducement to or reward for negotiating a higher selling price of the residential property.The ICAC investigation, which arose from a corruption complaint, revealed that the flat owner did not pay any “tea money” to the defendant. Centaline Property has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.Estate agents are reminded to refrain from soliciting illegal rewards from property owners and buyers in the course of procuring transactions to avoid breaching the POBO. Property owners and buyers should also report to the ICAC immediately if corruption is suspected.
27
Jun 2022
Ex-director of optical retailer charged as ICAC probe reveals falsifying invoicesA former director of an optical retailer was charged by the ICAC today (June 27) for allegedly falsifying invoices totalling over $380,000 in relation to procurement of glasses and using them to deceive the retailer.Lam Chun-bong, 45, former director-cum-shareholder of Eye Vision, faces one count of using false instruments, contrary to Section 73 of the Crimes Ordinance; and four counts of false accounting, contrary to Section 19(1)(a) of the Theft Ordinance.The investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, legal advice was sought from the Department of Justice, which advised preferring the above charges against the defendant. He was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance in the Kwun Tong Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday (June 29) for plea.At the material time, the defendant was one of the directors-cum-shareholders of optical retailer Eye Vision and its related companies, including Eye Vision (Tai Wai) Limited (Eye Vision (Tai Wai)). He was responsible for managing the daily operation of Eye Vision and its related stores, including procuring glasses and issuing cheques for settling operational expenses of the stores.One of the charges alleges that between September 2017 and February 2018, the defendant used nine invoices purportedly issued by a supplier with the intention of inducing Eye Vision (Tai Wai) to accept them as genuine.The nine allegedly false invoices purportedly showed that the supplier had supplied about $310,000 worth of glasses to Eye Vision (Tai Wai). ICAC investigation revealed that the supplier was in fact a bogus company.Four other charges allege that between June and October 2018, the defendant dishonestly falsified four invoices, totalling about $75,000, purportedly issued by another supplier for an accounting purpose. The invoices showed that the items listed on the invoices were supplied by the supplier at the stated prices.ICAC investigation revealed that the supplier had never supplied the items as listed on the four invoices or issued the invoices.
24
Jun 2022
Property investor and mother charged for $750,000 agency commission fraud over shopping centre purchaseA property investor and his mother were brought to the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts this afternoon (June 24) after being charged by the ICAC this morning for allegedly conspiring together to deceive an investment partner into paying an agency commission of about $750,000 over the purchase of a shopping centre at $168 million by concealing that an estate agency owned by a defendant would receive part of the commission in relation to the transaction.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, legal advice was sought from the Department of Justice, which advised charging the duo.Tse Yiu-sing, 38, sole director-cum-shareholder of Landcorp Properties Limited (Landcorp); and his mother Sin Yuk-ling, 66, jointly faced one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law.No plea was taken today. Principal Magistrate Ms Ada Yim Shun-yee adjourned the case to August 9 for mention. The defendants were granted bail.Upon the invitation of Tse, an investment partner agreed to jointly acquire a shopping centre in Tsuen Wan with him in June 2019. The duo then acquired Total Link Limited (Total Link) as a vehicle for purchasing the shopping centre. The investment partner and Sin respectively held 45 per cent shares and 55 per cent shares of Total Link.Tse liaised with the vendor through Midland Realty (Shops II) Limited (Midland) and the vendor asked for $168 million. As a normal practice, the purchaser Total Link was required to pay one per cent of the transaction price as agency commission to Midland.Sin had allegedly requested Midland to cooperate with Landcorp, a licensed estate agency owned by Tse, to procure the transaction.The charge alleged that between July 2019 and June 2020, Tse and Sin conspired together to defraud the investment partner by dishonestly causing Landcorp and Midland to enter into an agreement where Landcorp was entitled to 80 per cent of the agency commission payable by Total Link to Midland in relation to the above transaction; and concealing the agreement from the investment partner.It was also alleged that the defendants had induced the investment partner to make payment to Total Link pursuant to an agreement among the trio, whereby the investment partner was to advance to Total Link 45 per cent of the agency commission payable by Total Link to Midland in relation to the transaction.The prosecution was today represented by Senior Public Prosecutor Marcus Lee, assisted by ICAC officer Terri Kwok.
22
Jun 2022
Insurance agent charged by ICAC over $30m commission scamThe ICAC today (June 22) charged an insurance agent with conspiracy to defraud for allegedly recruiting a number of persons to join an insurance company as dummy agents and making false representations that they had handled over 200 insurance policies to deceive the insurer of commissions totalling about $30 million.Lo Yin-wa, 30, insurance agent, faces one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law. She was released on ICAC bail, pending her appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Friday (June 24) for mention.The charge alleges that between February 2016 and June 2020, the defendant conspired with a unit manager of Sun Life Hong Kong Limited (Sun Life HK) and six downline agents of the unit manager to defraud Sun Life HK by dishonestly falsely representing that the downline agents were the respective handling agents of 208 insurance policy applications; and causing Sun Life HK to approve those applications and to pay commissions, incentives, bonuses and allowances to the unit manager and downline agents.ICAC investigation revealed that at the material time, the defendant was a branch manager of another insurance company. She recruited the above seven persons to join Sun Life HK and told them they were not required to source any clients.During the above period, Sun Life HK received 208 insurance policy applications, mostly involving high commission rate insurance products, purportedly handled by the six downline agents. After approving those applications, Sun Life HK released commissions, incentives, bonuses and allowances totalling about $30 million to the six downline agents and the aforesaid unit manager.The defendant had allegedly controlled the bank accounts of the six downline agents which were used to receive the above commissions, etc. and rewarded them with a monthly payment of a few thousand dollars each. The 208 insurance policies concerned eventually lapsed after subsequent premiums were not paid.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. The defendant was charged after seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice. As the relevant corruption investigation is continuing, the ICAC does not rule out further law enforcement actions.Sun Life HK has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.The ICAC calls on insurance practitioners to adhere to their pledge of integrity and urges them not to take part in any corrupt and illegal activities.In order to assist the insurance industry in strengthening its corruption prevention capabilities in key operational areas such as verifying the commission of agents, the Corruption Prevention Department had collaborated with the industry to produce the “Corruption Prevention Guide for Insurance Companies”. The Community Relations Department will continue to collaborate with the industry for providing integrity training to insurance practitioners. Insurance companies and practitioners could also refer to the dedicated webpage tailor-made for the industry.
21
Jun 2022
Ex-manager of insurance broker charged as ICAC probe reveals referral fee fraudThe ICAC today (June 21) charged a former sales manager of an insurance broker for allegedly deceiving the firm into paying referral fees totalling over $25,000 to her husband by making false representations that he was the referrer of 25 insurances policies taken out by a number of clients.Anny Pang Wai-chun, 52, former sales manager of Cinergy Insurance Services Limited (Cinergy), faces 10 counts of fraud, contrary to Section 16A of the Theft Ordinance.The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the Commission sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised charging the defendant. She was released on ICAC bail, pending her appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (June 23) for plea.At the material time, Cinergy was an insurance broker which assisted clients in taking out various insurance policies, including employees’ compensation, public liability and vehicles insurance. For insurance policies successfully taken out, Cinergy would receive commissions from the relevant insurance companies.Cinergy allowed its sales managers to recruit referrers for client referral. For each successful referral, Cinergy would pay the referrer a referral fee. In April 2018, the defendant recruited her husband as a referrer.The charges allege that between July 2018 and August 2020, the defendant, by falsely representing to Cinergy that her husband was the referrer of 25 policies taken out by 10 policyholders, and with intent to defraud, induced Cinergy to pay referral fees to her husband in relation to those policies.ICAC investigation revealed that Cinergy had released referral fees totalling over $25,000 to the defendant’s husband for the above 25 policies.Cinergy has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

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