Ex-manager of groceries retailer gets three years’ jail for accepting bribes
A former sourcing manager of a multinational groceries retailer, charged by the ICAC with bribery, was today (July 9) sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at the District Court for accepting totalling over US$615,000 (about HK$4.8 million) in illegal rebate and loan and loan releases in the sum of about US$45,000 (about HK$350,000) from a supplier for placing toy orders worth totalling over US$20 million (about HK$156 million).
Pang Chun-kin, 39, former sourcing manager of Tesco International Sourcing Limited (Tesco Sourcing), was ordered by Deputy District Judge Mr Peter Hui Shiu-keung to pay over US$390,000 (about HK$3 million) as restitution to Tesco Sourcing, which was equivalent to the illegal rebates received by the defendant.
In sentencing, the Deputy District Judge reprimanded the defendant for breaching the trust placed on him. Although the defendant did not orchestrate the bribery scam, his culpability equalled that of the instigator as the scam involved a substantial amount of bribes and lasted over seven years.
The defendant earlier pleaded guilty to three charges—two of conspiracy for an agent to accept an advantage, both contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) and Section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance, and one of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the POBO.
The court heard that the defendant joined Tesco Sourcing in 2006 and was promoted to sourcing manager in 2015. He was responsible for placing orders of toys and miscellaneous items with suppliers, designated and agreed by a senior buying manager of a sister company of Tesco Sourcing stationed in the UK, for their parent company.
In 2011, the defendant and the senior buying manager sought to obtain funding to start their own business. At the senior buying manager’s suggestion, the defendant solicited rebates from the operator of a toy supplier of Tesco Sourcing, who agreed to pay three per cent of the amount of orders placed by Tesco Sourcing with the toy supplier handled by the defendant and the said senior buying manager.
Between March 23, 2011 and October 21, 2014, illegal rebates amounted to about US$ 500,000 (about HK$3.9 million) were paid to the defendant and the senior buying manager in relation to business transactions between the toy supplier and Tesco Sourcing totalling about US$16 million (about HK$124 million).
ICAC inquiries revealed that the defendant shared about half of the illegal rebates with the senior buying manager by paying cash to the latter when he visited Hong Kong.
The court heard that the corrupt practice continued after the senior buying manager left the sister company in 2017 but the agreed percentage of illegal rebates was lowered to one or two per cent of the amount of orders placed by Tesco Sourcing.
Between February 9, 2017 and January 27, 2018, business transactions between the aforesaid toy supplier and Tesco Sourcing amounted to about US$3 million (about HK$23 million). The defendant paid illegal rebates of about US$16,000 (about HK$124,000) collected from the toy supplier to another buying manager of the sister company of Tesco Sourcing.
The defendant’s share of illegal rebates, totalling about US$45,000 (about HK$350,000), were offset as partial release of a loan of US$100,000 (about HK$780,000) which the defendant borrowed from the operator of the toy supplier in about March 2015.
Tesco Sourcing, its parent company and sister company concerned, had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
The prosecution was today represented by Senior Public Prosecutor Marcus Lee, assisted by ICAC officers Jason Tsang and Samantha Laura Nichols.