Alleged bribe for visa 'was an accident'

Mainland woman says cheque for HK$6,000 was meant to be a donation to a temple

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 4:33am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 4:33am

A mainland businesswoman claims a cheque for HK$6,000 she allegedly sent to the Immigration Department as a bribe was intended for a donation to a Taoist temple in Chai Wan.

Li Lijing, 34, said the cheque was accidentally put into the envelope she sent to an immigration officer because the desk in her office was very messy.

She gave the explanation in Eastern Court after pleading not guilty to one count of offering an advantage to public officers.

Public prosecutor Kasmine Hui Hei-ching said that Li offered HK$6,000 to immigration inspector Allen Tang on November 5 last year to urge him to speed up her application under the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals.

Li, director of Hoi Lee Hong Kong International, told the court she had issued the cheque together with another for HK$1,000 on November 1 last year as donations to pray for blessings at a Chai Wan temple.

She said the HK$6,000 donation was to pray for good business and a successful immigration application as well as contributing to the temple's renovation expenses. The HK$1,000 donation was to pray for good health for her relatives.

"I sent the cheque to the Immigration Department by mistake," Li said.

She said she had legitimate reasons to ask her application to be sped up, such as her shipping crystals from Africa to Hong Kong and a tenancy agreement ready with a local landlord.

The prosecution played a recorded interview between Tang and Li as evidence to show that Li had asked Tang to "help her fix the application quickly". It alleged that Li said HK$6,000 was the "service charge" for speedy handling.

Li was remanded in custody after yesterday's hearing. Both sides will make their closing submissions today before Magistrate So Wai-tak.