THREE employees of the Hongkong Ferry Company had tampered with the toll machine and made away with $180,000 in fares in less than eight months, the District Court heard yesterday. Lau Hok-kwong, 39, who was employed as an inspector, Leung Shek-tai, 40, a pier assistant, and Choi Woon-ming, 47, a cleaner, had pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to steal, and theft. Sentencing was deferred until April 16 by Deputy Judge Leung, pending probation reports. The court heard the three men were employed by Hongkong Ferry (Holdings) Company Limited (HKF) to work at Kowloon City Ferry Pier. Lau managed the pier, assisted by Leung and Choi. A complaint was lodged that passengers were directed to use the manual toll machine because the automatic coin slots were sealed with adhesive tape. The ICAC conducted covert monitoring and found Lau had tampered with the meter readings of the manual toll machine. On October 1, several ICAC officers posed as customers and passed through the manual toll machine using marked $100 banknotes. Two marked $100 notes were later found on Lau and Leung.