A doctor convicted of claiming HK$2.25 million in government rent allowance for a flat he owned will be removed from the doctors' register for three months if he commits a further offence in the next year.
That was the decision of the Medical Council yesterday after a hearing into Dr Yuen Kai-tak's rent-scam conviction in the District Court in 2011, for which he was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment.
Yuen did not challenge his conviction yesterday but told the hearing that, following his defence counsel's advice at the time, he did not prepare enough evidence to fight his case. "It was a mess. I was told they had no case against me," Yuen told the council, adding that he had not known his actions were illegal.
Yuen had asked his friend Tang Siu-kin, also a doctor, to pose as the "nominal owner" of his flat at Evergreen Villa in Pat Heung, Yuen Long. He then claimed he leased the flat from Tang and sought a civil-servant rent allowance from 1990 to 2000.
Yuen was registered as a doctor in 1988 and worked in the Tuen Mun Hospital. He told the District Court that the true owner of the property was another doctor friend of his, but this was not accepted by the court.
Yuen told the Medical Council yesterday that this doctor friend had not testified on his behalf because his lawyer had told him it would not be necessary.
"This is a case involving dishonesty but we agree the chances of his committing the same or a similar offence are low," said council temporary chairman Professor Felice Lieh-Mak.
Yuen has repaid the government HK$2.25 million.
The council sentenced him to removal from the register for three months, but the sentence will not be carried out unless he commits a further offence in the next year.
Yuen had lodged an appeal on the District Court ruling but it was dismissed in 2012. He has now given up on seeking a further appeal.
He was not represented by a lawyer yesterday.