Ex-district councillor pleads guilty to fraud
A former district councillor previously jailed for theft has admitted stealing more than HK$300,000 from 57 people and gambling away their money instead of organising advertised tours to Macau.
Kwun Sai-leung, 31, pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud at the District Court yesterday. Deputy District Court judge Gary Lam Kar-yan adjourned sentencing to March 21, remanding Kwun in custody.
The prosecution decided against charging Kwun with theft on account of his confession. Kwun's victims were residents of the Lei Cheng Uk Estate in Sham Shui Po, where he was then a district councillor.
He circulated flyers for two tours to Macau, saying he was organising them as chairman of the Lei Cheng Uk Residents' Association.
The ads said Kwun had commissioned a travel agency to organise the two-day tours to Macau, leaving on July 9 and 23 last year.
Kwun, a district councillor from 2003 until last November, collected HK$312,692 from 57 people, who were paying for 224 residents, their friends and relatives to join the tours. Kwun made a verbal reservation with CS Happy Tourist Travel and was supposed to pay a deposit of HK$52,800 by May 25 to secure the travellers' places for the July 9 tour.
He missed the deadline and the firm cancelled their reservation.
Even so, Kwun continued to sell places on the tour. On the eve of the tour, Kwun told the participants that it had been cancelled due to a change of management at the travel firm.
The matter was reported to police and Kwun surrendered on July 9. He told police that he had stolen the tour fees and lost all the money gambling in Macau. His lawyer said Kwun had acknowledged his gambling addiction and was receiving counselling for it, and that he was sorry for failing to return the money.
In October 2010, Kwun was jailed for 21/2 months for stealing HK$51,730 from a non-profit organisation where he was a project manager.
The amount, in HK dollars, Kwun collected in 2009 on behalf of an association he was working for. But he did not hand over the money