Duo charged by ICAC jailed for soliciting and accepting bribes from Third Runway Project’s workers

2023-5-12


A former bar-bending site team leader and a former bar bender of a sub-contractor of the Third Runway Project of the Hong Kong International Airport (Third Runway Project), charged by the ICAC, were today (May 12) sentenced to nine months and five months in jail at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts for conspiracy to solicit and accepting bribes from a fellow worker for continuing his employment with the sub-contractor.

Chow Fuk-leung, 63, then site team leader of MLife Engineering Limited (MEL), received a jail term of nine months; while Chan Fai-ching, 29, then construction worker of MEL, was jailed for five months.

In sentencing, Deputy Magistrate Miss Polly Chuang Po-yi reprimanded the defendants for undermining the fairness of the local labour market, Hong Kong’s reputation as a corruption-free city and the core values of our society. The deputy magistrate also reproached the defendant for taking advantage of another worker and his sufferings by collecting bribes equivalent to one-fourth of his wages.

The Deputy Magistrate stressed that the defendants were at high risk of reoffending as they were remorseless while their law-abiding awareness was weak. Having considered the duo’s background reports and mitigations, she was of the view that there was no factor for reducing their jail terms.

The Deputy Magistrate had earlier ordered the defendants to pay about $14,000, being the bribes involved in the case, as restitutions to MEL.

Chow and Chan were earlier found guilty of a total of three charges – one of conspiracy for agent to solicit advantages and two of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.

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. Chow was employed by MEL as site team leader of a team of bar benders, including Chan.

Between November 2020 and February 2021, Chow and Chan had conspired together to solicit a bribe of $500 per working day from another bar-bender in Chow’s team. As a result, Chow had accepted bribes totalling about $14,000 from the bar-bender for assisting the latter to continue his employment with MEL. The bar-bender believed that he would be terminated by Chow if he did not pay any bribe.

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.

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 defendants 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.

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 Acting Senior Public Prosecutor Jason Lau, assisted by ICAC officers Kyle Tang and Cody Chung.
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