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Saturday, Jun 03, 2023

Ex-sergeant jailed 18 months over HK$500,000 bribe in ‘private investigation’

Ex-sergeant jailed 18 months over HK$500,000 bribe in ‘private investigation’

A 53-year-old former police sergeant was on Saturday jailed for 18 months for he accepted a HK$500,000 bribe from a relative to assist a businessman over an investigation regarding a debt collection row involving a triad society.
The defendant Li Hung-fat was earlier convicted of a count of public servant accepting an advantage, in violation of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

In District Court this morning, deputy judge Charles Chan slammed Li for using his connection in the force to commit the offense, undermining public expectation and trust in the police. Li’s crime also warranted a deterrent sentence.

Despite his services in the force and his contributions to society, Li broke the law knowingly, and immediate imprisonment was the only sentencing option, Chan said.

Chan started the jail term at two years and reduced it by six months due to his good characteristics, services in the past, and his health conditions.

Chan also ordered Li to repay all HK$500,000 to the government. The first HK$140,000 will have to be settled within the first 14 months after he finishes the sentence, and the remaining sum can be repaid by HK$10,000 a month for the next three years.

The court earlier heard that Li came to know a businessman through a relative in February 2019. The businessman had financial disputes with another person, who then caused a nuisance to his family. The businessman filed a police report, but no investigation was conducted.

In the same month, Li provided information about the businessman’s case to another sergeant specializing in debt collection cases and asked that the sergeant report the matter to the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau.

The following month, Li pressed the sergeant to deal with the businessman’s case. Li also sought help from his older brother, an assistant officer from the Correctional Services Department, and two other police officers when investigating the person who troubled the businessman.

As ICAC received a corruption complaint and initiated an investigation, which revealed that Li was issued a HK$500,000 check from the younger brother of his sister-in-law in late April 2019.

The check was a reward for Li’s assistance in investigating the businessman’s case, although he said the sum was a loan from his brother.

ICAC thanked the police for their assistance during the investigation. They also reminded officers to adhere strictly to the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and not to abuse their power for personal gain.
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