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Friday, May 24, 2024

Former bar-bending leader for airport’s third runway jailed eight months for accepting bribes

Former bar-bending leader for airport’s third runway jailed eight months for accepting bribes

The former leader of a bar-bending site team for the airport’s Third Runway Project was on Tuesday jailed for eight months after he admitted to accepting bribes from two workers for continuing their employment with the sub-contractor.
The 41-year-old defendant Ip Ying-lam was employed by the subcontractor MLife Engineering Limited (MEL) at the material time.

In West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts today, Ip pleaded guilty to nine counts of agent accepting an advantage, contrary to the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

He allegedly accepted over HK$55,000 and HK$3,900 from a bar bender and a general worker, respectively, between September 2020 and March 2021 for continuing their employment with MEL.

Apart from the eight months’ jail term, acting principal magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han also ordered Ip to pay HK$59,000, being the bribes involved in the case, as restitution to MEL.

In sentencing, Heung said the court had to mete out a deterrent punishment as bribery is a serious offense intolerable in Hong Kong society. Given Ip’s guilty plea, she started the jail term at 12 months and reduced it by one-third.

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 one defendant.

An ICAC spokesperson urged construction workers not to tolerate corruption and to report to ICAC immediately if they are ever asked to offer advantages in exchange for securing employment.

ICAC also thanked the Airport Authority, the main contractor SAPR JV, and MEL for their full assistance during investigation.
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