Former headmaster jailed for housing allowance fraud

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 October, 2012, 3:15am

A former secondary school headmaster was given a six-month jail term yesterday after being found guilty of defrauding the government through abuse of a housing allowance.

Deputy magistrate Hui Chun-sing sentenced Au Ping-wai in Tuen Mun Court after finding him guilty of obtaining HK$86,537.29 from the Education Bureau by providing false information.

Au was released on bail pending an appeal.

The magistrate said he had imposed a jail sentence because Au, who had pleaded not guilty to one count of fraud, "felt no remorse" for what he had done.

The court heard that from 2001 to 2006, Au, then principal of Sheng Kung Hui St Simon's Lui Ming Choi Secondary School in Tuen Mun but now retired, had falsely told the bureau that a flat in Block 2 of Gold Coast was his "full-time residence" when he applied for the government's mortgage interest subsidy scheme. Under the scheme, an applicant can get a monthly subsidy equal to a third of the mortgage interest paid, for a maximum of 10 years for his or her full-time residence.

The magistrate said that while Au had visited the flat on occasions, the evidence showed that his full-time residence during that period was a flat in Block 3 of the same Tsuen Mun estate.

Au had also admitted to investigators that the flat in Block 2 , which he and his wife bought in 1997, was not his "principal and primary residence".

Defence counsel Lawrence Hui read out letters submitted in mitigation. One said the amount of money Au had donated to charity was far more than that involved in the case. Another said Au was passionate about serving the community.