Two charged with defrauding social service provider of HK$1.64 million in allowances for refugees

Transport worker and clerk accused of posing as landlords of asylum seekers and torture claimants

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 9:31am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 9:31am

A man and a woman have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the local branch of a global aid network of more than HK$1.6 million in allowances from the city government for local refugees.

Transport worker Ng Chun-lam, 36, and clerk Jane Chan, 42, were charged with a joint count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to common law.

They also each face an alternative charge of fraud, contrary to the Theft Ordinance. Chan alone faces one count of committing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice, contrary to common law.

The joint charge alleges that Chan and Ng had conspired with a couple and other unknown people to defraud the International Social Service’s Hong Kong branch between July 31, 2008 and February 20, 2014, a spokesman for the Independent Commission Against Corruption said.

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They are accused of having falsely represented that Chan, Ng and the couple were the landlords of 48 refugees who were asylum seekers and torture claimants being assisted by ISS, causing the organisation to release and deposit rental allowances and allowances for utilities charges into the bank accounts of Chan, Ng and the couple.

The local branch of ISS, a Geneva-based non-governmental organisation, has been entrusted by Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department since 2006 to provide assistance-in-kind, including rental allowances and allowances for utilities charges, to asylum seekers and torture claimants seeking its assistance.

The allowances involved in this case were said to amount to more than HK$1.64 million, a spokesman for ICAC said.

The defendants have been released on ICAC bail, pending their court appearance on Wednesday.

The case arose from a corruption complaint, ICAC said.