Community service order for Hong Kong student who faked recommendation letters

The 29 year old will have to carry out 120 hours of community service after pleading guilty to deceiving his former employer

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 3:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 10:55pm

A university student who faked recommendation letters from a solicitors’ firm to work at Kowloon Cricket Club was on Thursday slapped with 120 hours of community service.

The Kowloon City Court heard the letters convinced the Jordan club to hire Alan Yip Ka-ming as a clerk for HK$11,000 per month as they claimed that he had clerked at Terry Yeung & Lai Solicitors for more than five years between November 27, 2007 and July 8, 2013.

But when the club later called the solicitors’ firm for verification, it was discovered that the company not only did not know about those letters, but that it had only hired Yip for less than a month in 2010.

The 29 year old pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception, an offence punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment.

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Deputy magistrate Leung Ka-kie on Thursday said the case was serious to a certain extent.

But she considered that Yip was a first time offender, who pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, and adopted a probation officer’s recommendation of community service of between 81 and 160 hours.

Yip’s sentencing report, according to defence counsel Wilson Tam, had been a positive one as the officer found Yip was a remorseful man who committed the independent incident only as a result of his ignorance towards the law at the time.

Tam also argued that his client had been a motivated man who worked hard to enter university and that he was willing to learn as seen from his admission of responsibility.

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The court previously heard that Yip took three exams to earn a place at University of Hong Kong’s Bachelor of Arts, and that he had to earn his own living as his parents had stopped supporting him financially.

In concluding her sentencing, the magistrate told Yip: “I hope you will work hard to continue your studies.”

Yip has repaid about HK$3,900 worth of wages and wages in lieu of notice he earned during his brief time at the club between July 12 and 21.