Duo jailed for bribery over employment of electrical workers
Two former employees of an engineering company, charged by the ICAC, were today (August 13) each sentenced to three months' imprisonment at the Tuen Mun Magistracy for soliciting and accepting illegal rebates totalling over $65,000 from five fellow workers for securing their employment at a construction site in Tung Chung.
Wong Wun-choi, 59, former foreman of Hong Yuan (HK) Engineering Limited (Hong Yuan) and Leong Chi-kwok, 62, former worker of Hong Yuan, were ordered by Magistrate Jacky Ip Kai-leung to repay $19,550 and $45,800 as restitution to Hong Yuan respectively.
In sentencing, the magistrate remarked that the illegal rebates scam orchestrated by the defendants involved a substantial amount of money, affected a number of workers, and lasted a long period of time.
The magistrate reprimanded the defendants for committing offences which were serious in nature and showing no remorse at all.
Wong and Leong were earlier convicted of three joint charges of conspiracy to accept an advantage as an agent, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) and Section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.
Leong was further convicted of six charges – five of agent accepting an advantage and one of soliciting an advantage as an agent, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the POBO. Wong was also found guilty of two counts of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to Section 9(1)(a) of the POBO.
The court heard that at the material time, Wong and Leong were respectively foreman and worker of Hong Yuan, which was awarded an electrical installation project at a construction site in Tung Chung, the New Territories. They were responsible for recruiting electrical workers for the project.
Under the arrangement of Leong, a fellow worker started to work at the construction site in December 2016. Leong later told the worker that Hong Yuan would pay him $1,100 per day but at the end of each month, he had to return $400 per day through Leung to Wong.
Believing that he would be dismissed if he did not accede to the request, the worker paid cash rebates totalling $20,800 to the duo on four occasions between January and April 2017.
In early 2017, Leong solicited a daily rebate of $400 from another newly recruited worker, saying that paying rebates to bosses was a trade practice in the local construction industry. The worker believed him and paid $33,400 in cash rebates to Leong and/or Wong on five occasions between February and May 2017.
Upon the invitation of Wong, a third fellow worker started to work at the construction site at a daily wage of $1,350 in February 2017. The worker acceded to Wong’s solicitation for a $150 daily rebate to avoid being dismissed, and paid Wong $5,550 in cash between March and April 2017.
The court also heard that in February 2017, Leong employed an apprentice and asked the latter to return $400 per day to Leong’s boss. Afterwards, the apprentice paid $5,600 to Leong.
In April 2017, Leong further requested a fifth worker to pay him a $400 daily cash rebate. The worker rejected the request and resigned a month later.
Hong Yuan had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation.
The prosecution was today represented by prosecuting counsel Diana Cheung, assisted by ICAC officer Wesley Ho.