ICAC arrest 4 linked to RTHK over bogus service charges

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 June, 2006, 12:00am

Graft-busters last night confirmed they have arrested four people connected to RTHK for cheating the government over service charges.

The arrests, made over the past two days, came after the ICAC received a tip-off.

Subsequent investigations found the four had allegedly conspired to submit bogus claims - - during the production of various RTHK programmes between 1995 and 2001.

'The arrestees included a senior programme officer, a disc jockey and a former disc jockey of RTHK, and a 'civilian',' said a spokesman for the ICAC.

'The bank accounts of the arrested former disc jockey and the civilian had allegedly been used as a conduit for receiving payments from the radio station.'

The Independent Commission Against Corruption said the four had been released on bail pending further investigations.

The corruption watchdog did not disclose any further information last night.

RTHK sources said the programmes concerned were broadcast on RTHK Radio 2 and the suspected false claims were made in relation to scriptwriting for the programmes.

They said the arrested 'civilian' was a relative of a RTHK staff member and the former DJ left the broadcaster eight years ago.

The RTHK sources also identified two of those arrested as senior programme officer David Ho Chung-yan and serving DJ Vera Lee.

A spokeswoman for RTHK yesterday said it was aware of the arrests and would co-operate with the ICAC. But she said given the inquiries were continuing, it would not offer further comments or disclose additional information.

Previous cases involving the broadcaster's personnel include one against the former head of its classical music channel, Radio 4.

In 2002, Richard Tsang Yip-fat was found guilty of two counts of misconduct in a public office between March 1999 and December 2000.

He disguised pay rises to two employees as payments to freelance workers and was given a four-month suspended jail sentence.

Former producer George Mak Che-kin, was given a 16-month sentence in July 2002 for cheating the station out of almost $250,000.

The latest arrests came less than two months after the Audit Commission issued a damning report on RTHK, accusing it of having a 'culture of non-compliance' with government guidelines and procedures.