ICAC 'verballed' defendant

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 November, 1994, 12:00am

ICAC officers were so desperate to gain a confession from a man accused of taking a bribe that they concocted a verbal confession, Sha Tin Court was told yesterday.

Wong Woon-kay, 41, a supervisor at Sha Tin racecourse's Wong Tang-ping stables, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of accepting a $300,000 bribe from a riding boy to help him win a job as an assistant trainer.

Independent Commission Against Corruption investigators Chow Kwok-hung and Lee Li-dor, who arrested Wong on January 20, told the court that while being held in the ICAC detention centre Wong told them he had returned the money to Hung Wai-tak because the man had failed to get the job.

However, when interviews were videotaped on two separate occasions on the same day, Wong had refused to repeat his statement, instead claiming the money was given to him by Hung for gambling, the court heard.

He denied making a voluntary verbal statement to the ICAC officers, and said 'that's what you said', in response to questions about his alleged admission.

Kevin Egan, defending, told Magistrate Simon Jenkins the ICAC officers had tried to 'verbal' Wong.

'We don't like to think that our law-enforcement officers have lied,' he said.

'When they are convinced that someone is guilty and they are a little bit shy of evidence, there is the temptation to put the icing on the cake,' he said. 'They verballed him.' In summing up, Mr Egan said there was not sufficient evidence against Wong. He said the issue came down to the conflicting words of two men, Wong and Hung.

Earlier, Hung told the court he had been approached by Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club investigators who told him they knew about the alleged bribe and threatened to report him to the ICAC if he did not assist them.

Hung said he had a second job, which is not permitted under Jockey Club employment rules, in which he recruited people to take voyages on the casino ship Oriental Princess in return for commissions.

Mr Egan alleged Hung had given Wong the money for gambling, but that Wong later backed out of the deal and returned the money.

After his interview with the Jockey Club investigators, the court was told, Hung reported the matter to the ICAC and agreed to testify against Wong in return for immunity from prosecution.

The magistrate reserved his judgment until December 6.