Woman jailed for bribery over applications of son’s identity card and public housing
A woman, charged by the ICAC, was today (September 3) sentenced to 12 weeks’ imprisonment at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts for offering a total of over $3,000 to officers of the Immigration Department (ImmD), the Housing Department (HD) and the Social Welfare Department (SWD) for processing her son’s application for an identity card and expediting her application for public housing.
Chen Yujuan, 54, unemployed, earlier pleaded guilty to three counts of offering an advantage to a public servant, contrary to Section 4(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.
In sentencing, Principal Magistrate Miss Ivy Chui Yee-mei said the bribery offences committed by the defendant were serious in nature. She imposed a jail term of 12 weeks on the defendant after considering the defendant’s guilty plea and clear record.
The court heard that at the material time, the defendant was trying to apply for the Verification of Eligibility for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Permanent Identity Card (HKPIC Verification Application) for her son with the ImmD. She was also a public rental housing (PRH) applicant awaiting flat allocation by the HD.
On December 5, 2019, the defendant visited an office of the ImmD to make the HKPIC Verification Application in the name of her son. The ImmD did not accept the application form as it was not signed by her son.
Shortly afterwards, the defendant submitted the form again. When an ImmD officer found that the form was still unsigned by the applicant, the defendant signed her son’s name on the form in front of the officer, put it in an envelope and asked the officer to help her. Cash amounted to $1,100 was found enclosed in the envelope.
The defendant was arrested by the ICAC in the same month. When interviewed under caution, the defendant admitted that the money was given as a “handling fee” to the government and a token of appreciation to ImmD officers for assisting her in the application.
On March 2 and May 12, 2020, the defendant respectively visited the HD and the SWD seeking assistance to expedite her PRH application. On each occasion, she left an envelope respectively enclosing cash of $2,040 and $40 to a Housing Officer and a Social Work Officer.
All aforesaid officers of the ImmD, the HD and the SWD did not accept the defendant’s offer, the court heard.
The ImmD, the HD and the SWD had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
The prosecution was today represented ICAC officer Davyn Wan.