Student jailed six months for bribe

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2006, 12:00am

Maths lecturer offered HK$10,000 to give details of exam

A postgraduate student at City University was sentenced to six months' jail yesterday for offering a mathematics lecturer HK$10,000 in exchange for the questions and answers of an imminent final examination.

Chen Jing, 25, a student from Wuhan, Hubei province, pleaded guilty at Kowloon City Court yesterday to one count of offering an advantage to a public servant under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

Magistrate Tong Man ordered the HK$10,000 bribe to be confiscated. The bribery attempt came to light when the associate professor reported the case to university management and then the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Mr Tong said that in view of the seriousness of the offence, an immediate custodial sentence had to be imposed on Chen.

Though the magistrate believed that the defendant was not familiar with the anti-bribery law in Hong Kong, he said that was not an excuse for the defendant to commit the offence.

Serving as prosecutor, ICAC officer Caroline Yu told the court the defendant came from Wuhan in September. She then enrolled in a course offered by the university's department of mathematics. A final examination was scheduled on December 16.

On December 6, an associate professor from the department found in his office mailbox an envelope containing HK$10,000 in cash. Later that day, the associate professor received an e-mail from an anonymous sender - the defendant - who claimed to be his student and the person who had deposited the HK$10,000 in his mailbox.

Five days later, the associate professor received two more e-mails from Chen urging him to reveal the examination questions and answers.

The associate professor then decided to report the incident to the head of the mathematics department. The professors alerted the ICAC and handed the money to the anti-graft agency.

The court heard that on instruction from ICAC officers, the associate professor contacted Chen and suggested a meeting on Wednesday at a cafe to show her the questions and answers. Chen agreed and asked the associate professor to bring along a blank answer book for her to copy the answers.

At about 12pm on the same day, Chen arrived at the cafe and identified herself as the anonymous writer. The associate professor then handed over a set of pre-arranged examination questions and answers, and two blank answer books.

When she started to copy the answers, the ICAC officers came forward and took her into custody.