Ex-employees of restaurant chain jailed for bribery and fraud


Two former employees of a Japanese fast food restaurant chain (Company A), charged by the ICAC, were today (September 11) sentenced to jail terms up to eight months in separate cases at the Tuen Mun Magistracy for offering and accepting $24,000 in bribes respectively, and conspiracy to defraud the restaurant chain of sales revenue amounting to at least $52,000.

A former senior store manager of Company A, 54, received a jail term of eight months, while a former supervisor of Company A, 27, was jailed for four months.

In sentencing, Acting Principal Magistrate Miss Ivy Chui Yee-mei said the court had to mete out immediate custodial sentences to the defendants as corruption was a serious offence. A heavier penalty was imposed on the senior store manager in view of his mastermind role in the scam, which was assisted by the supervisor.

The acting principal magistrate also ordered the senior store manager and the supervisor to pay $52,000 as compensation and repay $24,000 as restitution to Company A respectively.

The senior store manager earlier pleaded guilty to two charges – one of offering advantage to an agent, contrary to Section 9(2)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO), and one of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law.

In another case, the supervisor earlier admitted two charges – one of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the POBO, and one of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law.

The court heard that at the material time, the senior store manager was tasked to manage four branches of Company A, including Tin Shui Branch and Wan Tau Tong Branch.

The supervisor and a then assistant store manager at Tin Shui Branch of Company A were both under the supervision of the senior store manager.

In July 2015, the supervisor discovered that the assistant store manager was producing inaccurate sales records at Tin Shui Branch by deliberately omitting entries of meal orders into its cashier computer system. Upon his enquiry, the assistant store manager told him that the malpractice was carried out to level the average daily turnover.

Later in July 2015, the senior store manager approached the supervisor for assisting in restraining the daily turnover at Tin Shui Branch. Since August 2015, the supervisor had assisted the former senior store manager and the assistant store manager in doing so.

The court heard that the senior store manager and the assistant store manager asked the supervisor to produce more inaccurate sales records to subsidise Wan Tau Tong Branch’s low sales revenue in September and December 2015 respectively.

As a result, Company A suffered a loss of at least $52,000 in sales revenue between August 2015 and February 2016.

To reward the supervisor for his assistance in producing inaccurate sales records, the former senior store manager gave about $3,000 to $4,000 each month, totalling about $24,000, to him between September 2015 and February 2016. The supervisor accepted those bribes accordingly, the court was told.

The assistant store manager, 25, who was also charged by the ICAC for her role in the scam, was last Friday (September 8) found guilty of two charges – one of agent accepting an advantage, and one of conspiracy to defraud jointly charged with the former senior store manager. She was remanded in the custody of the Correctional Services Department until September 22 this year for sentence.

Company A had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation.

The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer Gary Tam.
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