Court clears Hong Kong traffic cop who bought motorcycle after giving rider a ticket

Officer should have told his bosses about the purchase, magistrate says, but case does not warrant criminal sanctions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2016, 7:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 September, 2016, 10:23pm

A traffic policeman who bought a motorcycle from its rider the day after giving him a ticket was cleared of misconduct allegations on Tuesday.

Chong Yuk-lun should have declared his purchase of the Yamaha Tmax scooter to his superiors, Eastern Court Magistrate Jason Wan Siu-ming said, but the possible conflict of interest involved fell short of amounting to criminality.

Chong, 36, was also cleared of perverting the course of public justice after Wan found him not guilty of tampering with justice by deliberately issuing a less serious traffic ticket to the motorcycle owner.

The magistrate refused to accept the testimony of another police officer who did not get along with Chong and who blew the whistle on him.

The policeman had pleaded not guilty to both counts.

The alleged incident took place on June 3 last year when Chong pulled over Lai King-bun in Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay.

He issued Lai a fixed-penalty ticket for failing to comply with road markings – with a fine of HK$450 – and exchanged contact details. He bought Lai’s motorcycle the next day for HK$77,000.

Prosecutors argued that Chong should have served Lai with a more serious ticket, including penalty points on his licence, for crossing continuous double white lines.

They also suggested during the trial that Chong should have reported the private deal to his bosses.

Magistrate Wan noted that a potential conflict of interest would have arisen if Lai had contested the ticket, forcing Chong to testify against him in court.

But the magistrate said that the chances of that happening were slim as the case was at the “lowest end” of road offences. And although Chong had been wrong not to tell his superiors about the purchase, Wan said Chong’s act did not amount to serious misconduct warranting criminal sanctions.

Leaving court, Chong said he did not know if he would face an internal police disciplinary hearing.