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Sunday, Jul 14, 2024

Police officer guilty of taking HK$500,000 to help man over debt linked to triad

Police officer guilty of taking HK$500,000 to help man over debt linked to triad

A former Hong Kong police officer was on Saturday convicted of accepting a HK$500,000 (US$63,700) bribe for helping a businessman in connection with a debt collection problem that involved a triad society.

Deputy District Judge Charles Chan heard that ex-sergeant Li Hung-fat, 53 took the cash from the younger brother of his sister-in-law as a reward for using his position on the force to help a businessman at the centre of a financial dispute.

The court was told that a family member of the businessman had received a letter demanding payment, which was reported to police, but no investigation was carried out.

Li later provided information to another sergeant who specialised in debt collection cases.

He told the other sergeant it was related to a debt collection syndicate with a triad background and asked his colleague to report the matter to the organised crime and triad bureau.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption offices.

Li was also found to have attempted to find out the personal details of the individual involved in the debt collection attempt.

That included obtaining the person’s criminal records from Li’s elder brother, who worked for the prison service.

Li also asked another two police officers to find out the individual’s home address.

The court heard the offence happened in 2019 after Li met the businessman following a referral by his sister-in-law’s brother.

Chan, who worked on the force’s Eastern district investigation team, earlier pleaded not guilty to accepting an advantage under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

Li claimed the money was a loan from his elder brother, but the court rejected the defence and ruled it had been a bribe for services rendered.

Chan said he wanted background reports before he heard pleas in mitigation and passed sentence next month.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) started an investigation into Li after it received a complaint.

Investigators discovered that Li had accepted a cheque for HK$500,000 and deposited it in his bank account in July 2019.

ICAC said it worked with police to provide regular integrity training and reminded officers to stick to strict anti-bribery laws and not to abuse their power for personal gain.

The case was adjourned until March 18 for the reports and Li was remanded in custody.

Government officials convicted of accepting an advantage as a reward for abuse of their official power face up to seven years behind bars and a maximum fine of HK$500,000.


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