Ex-employee of restaurant chain gets eight months for bribery and fraud


A former employee of a Japanese fast food restaurant chain (Company A), charged by the ICAC, was today (September 22) sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment at the Tuen Mun Magistracy for accepting $24,000 in bribes from her supervisor, and conspiracy to defraud the restaurant chain of sales revenue.

The defendant, 25, former assistant store manager of Company A, was earlier found guilty of two charges – one of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO), and one of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law.

In sentencing, Deputy Magistrate Ms Frances Leung Nga-yan said the court had to mete out an immediate custodial sentence to the defendant as the offences committed by her, which lasted a period of time, should be combated.

The deputy magistrate also ordered the defendant to repay $24,000 as restitution to Company A.

The court heard that at the material time, the defendant and another person were then assistant store manager and then supervisor at Tin Shui Branch of Company A respectively. They were both under the supervision of a then senior store manager of Company A, who was tasked to manage four branches, including Tin Shui Branch and Wan Tau Tong Branch.

In July 2015, the supervisor discovered that the defendant was producing inaccurate sales records at Tin Shui Branch by deliberately omitting entries of meal orders into its cashier computer system. Upon his enquiry, the defendant told him that the malpractice was carried out to restrain the daily turnover.

Later in July 2015, the senior store manager approached the supervisor for assisting in restraining the daily turnover at Tin Shui Branch. Since August 2015, the supervisor had assisted the senior store manager and the defendant in doing so.

The court heard that the senior store manager and the defendant asked the supervisor to continue the malpractice in September and December 2015 respectively.

As a result, Company A suffered a loss of at least $52,000 in sales revenue between August 2015 and February 2016.

Between September 2015 and February 2016, the supervisor received about $3,000 to $4,000 each month, totalling about $24,000, directly from the senior store manager or via the defendant.

During a causal chat, the defendant told the supervisor that she also received $4,000 each month from the senior store manager. Between September 2015 and February 2016, the defendant accepted $24,000 in bribes from the senior store manager, the court was told.

The senior store manager, 54, and the supervisor, 27, were also charged by the ICAC for their roles in the scam.

The senior store manager earlier pleaded guilty to two charges – one of offering advantage to an agent, contrary to Section 9(2)(a) of the POBO, and one of conspiracy to defraud jointly charged with the defendant, while in another case, the supervisor admitted two charges – one of agent accepting an advantage and one of conspiracy to defraud.

The senior store manager and the supervisor were sentenced to eight months and four months in jail respectively at the Tuen Mun Magistracy last Monday (September 11).

Company A had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation.

The prosecution was today represented by Acting Senior Public Prosecutor Anthea Kwok, assisted by ICAC officer Dominic Sung.
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