Three guilty in Jockey Club bribes scheme

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 May, 2012, 12:00am


Two middlemen who linked up people willing to pay bribes for Jockey Club membership with a willing nominator in a 2009 scam have been convicted of corruption.

Alan Lam Wai-chee, a 59-year-old clerk, was convicted of aiding and abetting an agent in accepting an advantage, while construction worker Billy Tang Kang-chung, 49, was found guilty on three counts of money laundering. Both had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The pair, who are not club members, had worked with co-defendant and full club member Robert Ng Ka-ki - also known as Robert Woo - to defraud the Jockey Club through false claims that he knew the membership applicants.

Woo, 56, got fellow members to act for the applicants as seconders, proposers and supporters, roles that are necessary in recommending outsiders to the prestigious racing club.

Judge Joseph Yau Chi-lap said in the District Court yesterday that there was enough evidence to reject the defendants' denials of involvement. Tang was found to have helped a minibus and taxi merchant, Chan Yuet-ming, arrange for his son to obtain the highly-sought-after membership. Chan paid a total of HK$1.25 million in the process.

'It was unusual and unreasonable [for Tang] not to issue a receipt to [Chan] for such a large sum of money,' Yau said. '[Tang] only told him to trust him.

'This shows the transaction could not be in a legitimate form.'

Lam, meanwhile, was approached by two Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) undercover agents, who pretended to be red-wine traders interested in joining the club.

Lam arranged for the law enforcers to meet Woo, charging HK$250,000 in return for one membership application form that came with endorsements from existing members. Recorded conversations between the ICAC officers and the defendants were played in court.

The pair were part of a scam related to obtaining Jockey Club memberships through bribes uncovered by the ICAC in 2010. Ten people were charged with offences, of which three, including a voting club member, have been found not guilty.

Woo had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of accepting an advantage and one of aiding and abetting an agent to accept an advantage. Chan and his son were granted immunity from prosecution by the Secretary for Justice for providing evidence.

Sentencing of Lam, Tang and Woo was adjourned to May 24 pending background reports. They were remanded in custody.