Ex-site team leader charged by ICAC jailed for soliciting and accepting bribes from public hospital expansion project workers
A former site team leader of a subcontractor of an expansion project of the United Christian Hospital, charged by the ICAC, was today (March 29) sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts for soliciting and accepting illegal rebates totalling $14,200 from three carpenters and bar benders for securing their employment with the subcontractor and being favourably disposed to them at work.
Tsoi Wai-tung, 45, former site team leader of Star Power Engineering Limited (Star Power), was earlier convicted of two counts of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages and one count of agent soliciting an advantage, contrary to sections 9(1)(a) and 9(1)(b) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.
In sentencing, Magistrate Mr. Lam Tsz-kan reprimanded the defendant for abusing his capacity as a site team leader in exploiting workers and robbing their hard-earned money. Workers who were disadvantaged and worried about losing their jobs would often give in.
The Magistrate also ordered the defendant to pay a restitution of $14,200, equivalent to the amount of illegal rebates concerned, to Star Power.
An ICAC spokesperson urges construction workers not to tolerate corruption. Should they be asked to pay illegal rebates in exchange for their employment, they should report to the ICAC immediately. Report corruption hotline: 25 266 366.
In order to strengthen the corruption prevention capabilities of the construction industry and to tackle possible illegal conducts in recruitment, the ICAC has produced the “Corruption Prevention Checklist on Recruitment of Construction Workers”: cpas.icac.hk/EN/Info/Lib_List?cate_id=3&id=2623. The construction industry and its frontline workers could also refer to the dedicated webpage tailor-made for the industry: hkbedc.icac.hk/en/sector_industry/construction/28.
The offences took place between January and May 2021. At the material time, Star Power was a subcontractor for carpentry and bar bending works of the expansion project of the United Christian Hospital and the defendant was a site team leader of Star Power. During the period, he referred a number of workers to work at the construction site under his supervision at a daily wage ranging from about $1,300 to $1,400.
The court heard that the defendant requested three of the workers to pay him illegal rebates of $100 or $200 per working day for securing and continuing their employment with Star Power. One of the workers, who rejected to pay any illegal rebate to the defendant, was assigned to take up difficult tasks. The worker resigned four days later.
The remaining two workers acceded to the defendant’s requests to secure their jobs. The defendant subsequently accepted illegal rebates of $5,600 and $8,600 respectively, totalling $14,200, from the duo. One of them was terminated by the defendant after he asked the defendant to lower the amount of the illegal rebate.
Star Power had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.
The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Mark Wei, assisted by ICAC officer Edison Lieh.