ICAC takes airport security boss Sidney Chau in for questioning

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 June, 2013, 4:06am

The head of security at Hong Kong International Airport, Sidney Chau Foo-cheong, was taken to the graft-busters' headquarters for questioning last night.

Chau was suspended last week pending an internal probe into allegations that he claimed about HK$760,000 in overtime payments without proper approval between 2008 and February this year.

It was not known if Chau, executive director of the Aviation Security Company (AVSECO), had been formally arrested. A spokesman for the Independent Commission Against Corruption declined to comment.

A source familiar with the ICAC investigation said Chau was assisting with inquiries into a corruption case. ICAC officers had visited his office on Thursday and interviewed a number of company employees.

Officers took Chau from his Tai Hang home earlier yesterday to a location in Central before taking him to ICAC headquarters in the evening. It is understood two others were taken to headquarters to assist in the inquiry.

According to the company's guidelines, only front-line staff or those on special operations can claim overtime pay after getting the approval of their department supervisors. Chau should seek approval from the board if he needs to claim overtime.

There were also allegations that he was a regular client of a decoration company that frequently won AVSECO tenders.

The saga came to light after an AVSECO board member, former legislator Miriam Lau Kin-yee, received an anonymous complaint against Chau last month.

The company has set up a panel, led by board member Wong Kwai-huen, chairman of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, to investigate the case.

Chau joined the company in 2004 as executive director. His salary was reported to be about HK$147,000 a month.

He has a police background, having served in the force for 34 years from 1970 to 2004. In 1997, while he was a senior assistant commissioner of police, Chau was asked to set up AVSECO at the new airport.

It is responsible for aviation security services at Chek Lap Kok and employs about 3,000 people. It is jointly owned by the Airport Authority and the Hong Kong government.

An Airport Authority spokeswoman said: "We understand that [AVSECO] has set up an investigation team. At this stage we have no further response."