Director of closed kids’ education centre in Hong Kong arrested for failing to deliver on services after accepting payments

10 complaints involving about HK$100,000 have been filed against IMI Kids Education at Tuen Mun, which closed down in June, the Customs and Excise Department says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2016, 4:19pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2016, 4:33pm

The director of a Hong Kong education centre which was closed for business about two months ago was arrested by customs officers on Wednesday for failing to provide services after accepting payments from clients.

The arrest was made after the 38-year-old Hongkonger – who is a director of IMI Kids Education in Tuen Mun – was interviewed at the Customs and Excise Department’s North Point headquarters on Wednesday morning.

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At noon, the man was escorted to the office of the education centre at Tuen Mun Parklane Square in Tuen Hi Road, where officers seized documents and computers.

It is understood the centre had been in operation since 2013 offering services such as play groups, reading and maths courses, as well as cooking classes for children aged between three and 12.

A source with knowledge of the case said the centre was closed for business in June because of outstanding rental payments that involved several hundred thousand dollars.

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Customs officers began investigations into the centre about two months ago after receiving complaints from affected clients over the sudden closure.

So far, the department has received more than 10 complaints involving about HK$100,000.

According to the department, the centre’s director was arrested on suspicion of violating the Trade Descriptions Ordinance for wrongly accepting payment, which carries a maximum penalty of a HK$500,000 fine and up to five years in jail.

By afternoon, the man had been released on bail pending further investigation.

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Under the ordinance, a trader commits an offence if, at the time of accepting payment, the trader intends not to supply the product or intends to supply a materially different product, or there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the trader will be able to supply the product within a specified or reasonable period.

Members of the public may report suspected cases of violation of the trade descriptions ordinance to the department’s 24-hour hotline at 2545 6182.