A former Wan Chai divisional police commander was jailed for a year for misconduct in public office yesterday and accused by a magistrate of telling lies in court.
Adriana Tse condemned Superintendent Titus Wong Koon-ho, 51, for showing no remorse during the trial and said he had given the worst testimony she had heard during her years as a magistrate.
Wong was earlier convicted of receiving discounts and whisky worth HK$5,500 from a Causeway Bay restaurant in exchange for turning a blind eye to it serving alcohol without a licence.
He was responsible for advising the Liquor Licensing Board on whether to grant licences.
Wong later approved the Chen Teen Bistro's licence application, despite knowing it had served alcohol illegally. He even drank alcohol there when it had no licence, the court had heard previously.
Tse said Wong had brought shame on the police force and his fall from grace was entirely of his own making.
She said his case was similar to that of former police senior superintendent Sin Kam-wah, who was convicted of accepting free sexual services from prostitutes in 2003.
Sin was jailed for three years by the trial judge, a term that was reduced to two after an appeal.
"I agree that the offences that Sin committed may be more serious [than those of Wong]," Tse said, adding that police officers should have taken Sin's case as a warning.
Defence counsel Albert Luk Wai-hung yesterday submitted to the court 60 letters of mitigation and appreciation, including one from the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong. Luk also asked Tse to take into account Wong's contributions to the city.
Tse rebutted this by saying that police officers could not point to their community service as a defence in such circumstances. "They do not serve society for free," she said. "They are well paid for it."
Tse also criticised Wong for putting his subordinates in a position where they may have experienced a conflict of interest.
She suspected Wong's team responsible for vetting liquor licence applications was involved in misconduct.
Tse asked the Independent Commission Against Corruption to investigate further. Wong's application for bail pending an appeal was refused.
Luk said outside court that Wong would appeal against his conviction and sentence.
A police spokesman said the force adopted a "zero tolerance" approach to corrupt officers and imposed strict requirements on their behaviour and integrity.
Police commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung earlier said he was disappointed with Wong's conviction and stressed it was an isolated incident.