Officer guilty of taking discounts and free liquor

Magistrate slams former Wan Chai chief and his witnesses as 'very dishonest and untrustworthy'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 May, 2013, 1:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

A former Wan Chai police chief was convicted of misconduct in public office yesterday for getting discounts and liquor from a restaurant. The court has ordered further investigations as more officers are suspected to be involved.

Superintendent Titus Wong Koon-ho, 51, now suspended from duty, was found guilty of receiving discounts and whisky worth HK$5,500 from a Causeway Bay restaurant in exchange for turning a blind eye to it serving alcohol without a licence.

Wong later approved Chen Teen Bistro's licence application, despite knowing that it had served alcohol illegally. He even drank alcohol there when it had no licence, the court heard.

Magistrate Adriana Tse slammed Wong and other defence witnesses as dishonest and listed 39 points in their evidence which she said were contradictory and "ridiculous".

"I consider them very dishonest and untrustworthy witnesses and I would not accept their evidence," she said.

In one of the dinners in question, Wong paid only HK$379 for food that cost HK$2,268, but Wong insisted the bill was reasonable.

Chen Teen Bistro was formerly called Original Hot Pot, which had a liquor licence. Wong had argued that he did not know the restaurant had changed its name and thought the licence was still valid. But Tse said Wong should have known about the change as the new name was clearly written on the application. Wong had told the court he frequented the restaurant and knew the address very well, but he later said he did not know which floor it was on.

The licence application had a copy of the ID card of the restaurant boss whom Wong knew, but Wong said it so happened that he did not see the copy.

Tse doubted if there were so many coincidences in this world.

She said Wong had committed a serious offence and that it was unacceptable for him not to declare the discount he received to his superior.

Tse suspected that Wong's team that was responsible for vetting liquor licence applications was involved in misconduct and that one officer was believed to have given a false statement.

She has asked the Independent Commission Against Corruption to investigate further.

Tse adjourned the case to June 6 to allow Wong more time to collect mitigation letters. He was given bail.

Outside court, police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said he was disappointed with Wong's conviction and stressed it was an isolated incident.