Prison officers jailed for bribery
Two prison officers who asked an inmate and her boyfriend for cash and expensive gifts after illicitly relaying messages for them had 'brought shame on the Correctional Services Department', a judge said as he jailed the pair yesterday.
Ng Shuk-yi, 36, convicted last month of soliciting an advantage and three counts of attempted fraud, was sentenced to 18 months. Co-defendant Lai Sau-wai, 47, who was found guilty of soliciting and accepting an advantage as a public servant, received 21 months behind bars.
Ng's relatives wept when Deputy Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on sentenced them in the District Court.
The prison officers had run messages for jailed mainland woman Wu Qiaomei, her boyfriend Lu Guoxiang and Wu's family between December 2009 and February 2010, the court heard. Ng subsequently asked for rewards, including HK$530,000 in cash, handbags and other gifts. Lai asked Lu to secure a lift contract for her friend at a property project on the mainland with Wu's business partner. Lai also received a second-hand computer notebook from Lu.
Ng was with the department's escort and support group, while Lai worked at the Chi Ma Wan Correctional Institution in South Lantau, , until their arrest and suspension in March 2010. Wu was in the Chi Ma Wan jail, but has been moved.
Kwok said Ng and Lai had seriously violated the values of the department. The offences committed by Lai, who had worked in the department for 23 years, were more serious, as she held a more senior post, the judge said.
In mitigation, Albert Luk Wai-hung, Ng's lawyer, cited reports from the department that described Ng as 'righteous and capable'. Ng committed the crime because of 'momentary confusion', he said.
Ng, whose husband is also in the disciplined services, has an 11-year-old son; Lai has a seven-year-old daughter who he raises on his own, having divorced, the court heard.
The judge told the pair: 'I feel sorry for the children, but you should have thought about it when you committed the offence.'