Judge delays sentence to allow restitution

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 May, 2009, 12:00am

Sentencing of Christine Loh Kung-wai's former personal assistant - who used the former lawmaker's particulars and credit card for a two-month spending spree of more than HK$1 million - was deferred yesterday so she could make restitution.

Deputy District Court Judge Merinda Chow Yin-chu gave Fung Wai-kwan, 33, until Monday to pay back almost HK$700,000.

Fung had been due to be sentenced yesterday on six counts of fraud, six of theft and two of obtaining property by deception, to which she pleaded guilty earlier.

But Deputy Judge Chow adjourned sentencing to Monday after receiving a breakdown of the repayment from Fung's defence barrister, Munira Moosdeen, who had suggested a restitution offer at a previous hearing.

The money will go to two banks, a car loan company and Ms Loh, who is the chief executive of the Civic Exchange think-tank.

Ms Moosdeen told the court yesterday Fung was remorseful and ashamed of her wrongdoing. She said Fung's mother, who was in the court, would help her daughter turn over a new leaf.

The court heard earlier that Fung had committed the offences out of infatuation with an abusive boyfriend.

Two psychiatric reports submitted yesterday said she was suffering from depression because of the failure of her previous relationships.

The reports recommended that she continue to receive psychiatric treatment at outpatient clinics.

Prosecutor Peggy Leung earlier said Fung, as a personal assistant, had access to Ms Loh's personal information, including her bank statements and identity card.

Fung had applied for the car loan in September, and in October used a copy of Ms Loh's identity card and a bank statement to support her applications for credit cards from HSBC and Citibank.

She had also used her former boss' credit card to rent a Mercedes and applied for a HK$950,000 loan in Ms Loh's name to buy a Porsche Cayenne, most of which had been recovered after the car was resold.

Apart from that, she had used the credit card to make online purchases at ParknShop on two occasions, as well as pocketed money including Ms Loh's reimbursements from the Civic Exchange think-tank.

The spending was estimated to be more than HK$1.56 million.

The case came to light on November 5, when Ms Loh received mail about the credit card applications.