AN accounts clerk who embezzled more than $1.1 million from his employer but offered to pay it back was yesterday sentenced to 18 months' jail at the District Court. Chu Chiu-keung, 32, admitted eight counts of forging cheques causing cash to be transferred from bank accounts held by his employer, King Chain Enterprise Ltd, into his account. In his last court appearance on March 31, Chu had offered to transfer ownership of his fiancee's $700,000 flat to King Chain in part repayment. Instead, defence counsel Mr Alan Hoo, QC, said a plan had been agreed by which King Chain would be given part of the money and the balance of $730,000 would be paid back progressively once Chu started working after his release. Mr Hoo told the court that prosecution counsel Mr Rodney Griffith had agreed that restitution was a powerful mitigating factor. Mr Hoo said Chu was ''a hard-working, family-orientated person''. He said his previous employer was willing to re-employ him whatever sentence was imposed. ''All those with whom he has worked have more than expressed satisfaction with him,'' he said. ''A short sentence will allow him to pick up his life again and allow him to start making repayment to the victim company.'' Judge Kilgour told Chu: ''You clearly have a supportive family and fiancee. Even more surprisingly, your previous employer has come to court to support you.'' But he said a jail term was inevitable. ''My failure to impose such a term would send out the wrong message to the public and would probably prolong your anguish because the sentence might well be reviewed. ''Unfortunately, you were tutored into the Hongkong philosophy of get rich quick by any means.''