Duo admit accepting $160,000 illegal ‘referral fees’ from metal scaffolders
Two former site supervisors of a construction company (Company A), charged by the ICAC, admitted at the Kowloon City Magistracy today (August 24) that they had conspired together to accept illegal “referral fees” of over $160,000 in total from nine metal scaffolders for arranging and procuring their employment by the company.
D1, 43, and D2, 47, both former site supervisors of Company A, pleaded guilty to nine joint charges of conspiracy to accept an advantage as agents, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and Section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.
Magistrate Miss Wong Sze-lai adjourned the case to September 1 this year for sentence, and remanded the defendants in the custody of the Correctional Services Department.
The court heard that at the material time, D1 and D2 were employed by Company A as site supervisors to supervise metal scaffolders at the construction site of Whampoa Station of the MTR Corporation Limited. They could refer metal scaffolders to work at the construction site.
The daily wage of a metal scaffolder was $1,100 and the salaries would be paid to them by Company A through bank transfer on a monthly basis.
Between February 2015 and early February 2016, D1 and/or D2 referred nine persons to work as metal scaffolders and told them to refund $150 to $250 per day to D2, who was responsible for collecting the refunds from them and making records, the court heard.
The nine persons paid sums of money ranging from $2,750 to $31,200, totalling $164,375, to D1 and D2.
Most of them believed that they would lose their jobs if they did not do so, while some understood that the refunds were “referral fees” for introducing them to work for Company A, the court was told.
Company A had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation.
The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer Joe Gza Li.