Six people charged by ICAC for bribery involving landfill contractor staff for free disposal of construction waste


The ICAC today (June 11) charged four employees of a contractor of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and two staff of a waste disposal company for allegedly offering and accepting advantages of laisees, coupons and drinks for assisting the company to unload construction waste to a landfill free of charge by disguising the waste loaded on trucks as non-construction waste and conspiracy to defraud the EPD.

The six defendants, aged between 31 and 66, are four employees of a contractor of the EPD, namely tipping face waste inspector of Far East Landfill Technologies Limited (Far East) Mak Wah-sing and three weighbridge operators of Far East – Chung Pui-chun, Cheung Kam-ning and Chung Ching-kwan. The two employees of the disposal company concerned are Mak Kim-kwan and Lin Wenjian, respectively truck driver and worker of T.S. Industrial Materials Recycle Limited (TSL).

The six people jointly face one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law. Mak Kim-kwan alone faces four counts of offering an advantage to an agent, contrary to Section 9(2)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO). Meanwhile, Mak Wah-sing, Chung Pui-chun and Cheung Kam-ning each faces one count of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the POBO.

All defendants were released on ICAC bail, pending their appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (June 13) for mention. The prosecution will apply to transfer the case to the District Court for plea.

At the material time, Far East was engaged by the EPD to operate a landfill in Fanling for disposal of construction waste and non-construction waste, including municipal waste. Trucks disposing construction waste were required to use the construction waste entrance and produce chits issued by the EPD to weighbridge operators for settling the disposal charge, which was $200 per tonne. Meanwhile, disposal of non-construction waste was free of charge.

Weighbridge operators of Far East would conduct routine inspection on trucks using the non-construction waste entrance and weigh those trucks to verify whether construction waste was loaded on them. EPD staff would also conduct ambush inspections on trucks entering the landfill.

TSL was a waste disposal company which operated a waste recycling site in Fanling. It conveyed construction waste to the landfill for its client.

It is alleged that between January 2021 and June 2022, the six defendants conspired together to defraud the EPD by dishonestly disguising construction waste to be unloaded by trucks of TSL as non-construction waste for disposal; alerting in advance Mak Kim-kwan when inspection was to be carried out by the EPD and enabling trucks of TSL to evade payments for disposal of construction waste at the landfill.

In the abovementioned one and a half years, Mak Kim-kwan allegedly offered laisees, coupons and bottled drinks to four employees of Far East, including Mak Wah-sing, Chung Pui-chun and Cheung Kam-ning, so as to alert him in advance when the EPD was to carry out inspections and facilitated construction waste conveyed to the landfill by trucks of TSL to be disposed of without payment of the required fees. Meanwhile, Mak Wah-sing, Chung Pui-chun and Cheung Kam-ning allegedly accepted those advantages from Mak Kim-kwan.

The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Enquiries revealed that at the material time, TSL offered laisees, mooncake coupons and rice dumpling coupons worth totalling about $50,000 to Far East staff, and provided a large quantity of non-alcoholic bottled drinks to Far East staff on a daily basis.

ICAC enquiries also revealed that non-construction waste was used to cover construction waste loaded on TSL trucks. By pretending that its trucks were uploading non-construction waste, TSL evaded making the relevant waste disposal payments.

In around a month between mid-May and mid-June 2022, TSL declared to the EPD that it had conveyed non-construction waste on about 760 occasions. ICAC enquiries revealed that about 90 per cent of the trucks were disguised as carrying non-construction waste. A total of over 4,100 tonnes of construction waste, incurring disposal charge of over $830,000, were in fact loaded on the trucks.

The EPD and Far East have rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

The ICAC reminds staff of business organisations not to be tempted by trivial advantages and breach the law inadvertently. According to the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, an advantage includes, irrespective of the value, any money, gift, loan, contract and services, etc. Offeror and recipient of the bribe may breach the law as long as a corrupt motive is involved.
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