Executive Officer of HAD admits false claim of time-off over medical treatment
An Acting Senior Executive Officer (SEO) of the Home Affairs Department (HAD), charged by the ICAC, today (January 10) admitted at the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts that she had used “Application for Time-off” forms to mislead the HAD about her visits to a Chinese medicine clinic for consultation and treatment during office hours while in fact she had attended hobby classes on those occasions.
Fu San, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts of agent using document with intent to deceive her principal, contrary to Section 9(3) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. The prosecution offered no evidence to three similar charges against her.
Acting Principal Magistrate Ms Peony Wong Nga-yan adjourned the case to January 24 for sentence, pending a community service order reports of the defendant. The defendant was granted cash bail.
At the material time, the defendant was an Acting SEO posted to Wong Tai Sin District Office of the HAD. She was responsible for providing secretarial support to Wong Tai Sin District Council.
According to the Civil Service Regulations, government officers are allowed to take time-off from duty for visiting clinics for approved treatment, examination or consultation. A government officer of the HAD taking time-off from duty under the regulation should seek prior approval from his or her supervisor and complete an application form upon resumption of duty.
The court heard that the defendant had submitted three sets of “Application for Time-off” forms to her supervisor for approval. The defendant stated in the forms that she had taken time-off to visit a Chinese medicine clinic for consultation and treatment in the afternoon of November 30, 2018, July 5, 2019 and June 17, 2020.
ICAC enquiries revealed that the defendant had attended hobby classes in the three afternoons. She only visited the Chinese medicine clinic in the evening on two of the aforesaid dates and did not visit it on the remaining date.
The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint referred by the HAD. Upon completion of the investigation, the ICAC sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised prosecuting the defendant. The HAD had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer Ronald Chan.
An ICAC spokesperson said the Commission attaches great importance to civil service integrity. The ICAC, in collaboration with the Civil Service Bureau, provides integrity training and an online learning platform for government officers of different ranks to strengthen their understanding of the anti-bribery law and related integrity issues. The Commission will continue to join hands with bureaux and departments to promote a clean culture across the civil service.