Two optical centre directors deny fraud charge

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 4:34am

Two former optical centre directors denied an allegation that they deceived a prominent teachers' association of more than HK$1.7 million in salary payments.

Law Wai-kin and Look Chi-wah, directors of From Fair Development Limited, allegedly defrauded the Professional Teachers' Union of HK$1.76 million between December 2004 and May 2011 by exaggerating wages for employees at two optical centres.

They pleaded not guilty to one count of fraud yesterday at the District Court in Wan Chai.

Law, 46, and Look, 45, ran the two optical centres, which had been serving the union's members at the union's Causeway Bay and Mong Kok branches since 1993 and 1997 respectively.

The teachers' union had signed a contract with From Fair Development to run the two optical centres. The contract has been terminated.

In the seven years from December 2004 to May 2011, the two men allegedly submitted 78 claim forms that overstated salary amounts to the union.

A senior accounting clerk at the union who processed the forms did not further verify the names of the employees or their salaries, the court heard.

The union then reimbursed the two defendants for the salaries that were paid by them in advance, the court was told.

The court heard that Law and Look falsely reported to the union that they had hired a part-time optometrist and three student assistants, requiring the union to pay a total salary claim of HK$104,000. The four did not work at the centres during that period, it was alleged.

The pair also falsely claimed or exaggerated the salaries of part-time assistants and seven optometrists, it was alleged.

The case continues today.