Ex-site team leader charged by ICAC jailed for eight months over acceptance of bribes from Third Runway Project’s workers
A former bar-bending site team leader of a sub-contractor of the Third Runway Project of the Hong Kong International Airport (Third Runway Project), charged by the ICAC, was today (May 9) sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment after admitting at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts that he had accepted bribes from two workers for continuing their employment with the sub-contractor.
Ip Ying-lam, 41, former bar-bending site team leader of MLife Engineering Limited (MEL), pleaded guilty to nine counts of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.
In sentencing, Acting Principal Magistrate Miss Veronica Heung Shuk-han said the court had to mete out a deterrent punishment as bribery is a serious offence intolerable in Hong Kong society. She took a starting point of 12 months imprisonment and reduced the jail term of the defendant to eight months having considered his guilty plea.
The Acting Principal Magistrate also ordered the defendant to pay $59,000, being the bribes involved in the case, as restitution to MEL.
The court heard that at the material time, MEL was a sub-contractor of the Third Runway Project responsible for recruiting construction workers to conduct various works. The defendant was employed by MEL as site team leader of a team of bar benders.
Between September 2020 and March 2021, the defendant accepted from a bar bender and a general worker over $55,000 and $3,900 in bribes respectively for continuing their employment with MEL.
In recent years, the ICAC had taken a series of enforcement actions against corrupt practices similar to the above-mentioned one. Regarding the Third Runway Project, 23 former employees of the main contractor and a sub-contractor of the project were charged by the ICAC with bribery. Thirteen of them, including the defendant in this case, had pleaded guilty or were found guilty after trial, receiving sentences up 10 months in jail. Nine others are awaiting plea or trial, while the prosecution offered no evidence against a defendant.
An ICAC spokesperson urges construction workers not to tolerate corruption. Should they be asked to offer advantages in exchange for their employment, they should report to the ICAC immediately. Report corruption hotline: 25 266 366.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong, the relevant main contractor SAPR JV and MEL had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case. As the relevant corruption investigation is continuing, the ICAC does not rule out further law enforcement actions.
The prosecution was today represented by ICAC officer Lai Yiu-wai.