Jail time reduced for HK$3m embezzler

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:11pm


A clerk who misappropriated more than HK$3 million in University of Hong Kong funds had her jail term reduced to 18 months yesterday after she helped prosecutors convict her former boss, Dr John Wong.

The Court of Appeal reduced June Chan Sau-hung's jail term because her original sentence of 22 months was handed down in May 2010, before the Independent Commission Against Corruption approached her about prosecuting Wong.

As a result, the original sentencing judge did not have the chance to reflect Chan's co-operation by reducing her sentence.

Wong, former head of surgery at the university, was given a community service order of 240 hours, the maximum allowed.

Chan, 43, who pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office, used university credit cards to make purchases and withdraw cash

She said she committed the crimes to ease the pressure of a failed marriage and a heavy workload.

The crimes took place between 2004 and 2006 when she worked as an administrative assistant at the Skills Development Centre, under the supervision of Wong, who helped her cover up the embezzlement.

Earlier this year, Chan testified against Wong as a prosecution witness, leading to his conviction for misconduct and false accounting.

The judges - Madam Justice Susan Kwan Shuk-hing and Mrs Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling - ruled that Chan deserved a discount in the light of her co-operation and evidence, which helped secure the conviction of Wong.

Chan has already served more than nine months in jail.

Chan confessed to Wong in 2007, but he failed to tell the university about it, which constituted misconduct in public office.

Wong was also found guilty of directing HK$731,347 from two of the centre's bank accounts to pay the salary and other expenses of a domestic helper-cum-driver over a five-year period, despite his personal fortune of HK$150 million.

He was also convicted on two counts of false accounting, after he used dummy invoices from a travel firm to lower his company taxes by HK$123,314.