Rumours of a black market in staff travel benefits led Cathay Pacific to act to prevent possible abuse of the policy, a court heard yesterday. Flight attendant Yeoh Kar-miin, 25, is accused of accepting $5,980 from Man Kin-wing, 31, to issue concessionary air tickets between December 2 last year and January 13. She has denied three counts of accepting an advantage. The airline tightened its policy amid rumours some employees were selling concessionary tickets, Cathay Pacific's employee services manager, Robert Nipperess, told Eastern Court. The witness said the company had received reports that 'some staff were trading their benefits, selling their companion status [which allows nominated non-staff to travel with them]'. Nothing had been proved but 'the company management debated long and hard' about measures to address the rumours, he said. Kevin Egan, defending, said Cathay's guidelines were 'a little bit loose in the sense that they don't specifically say employees are not allowed to accept an advantage for concessionary tickets'. Mr Nipperess agreed but said the carrier now required all employees to sign indemnity forms promising not to abuse the system. An employee who is single can nominate one travel companion who enjoys up to 90 per cent discounts on tickets. Mr Nipperess said payment fell to the staff member who obtained the ticket. Mr Egan said: 'Let's assume I was Ms Yeoh's genuine boyfriend . . . and she paid for me . . . Cathay wouldn't have any difficulty if I reimbursed her.' 'Cathay wouldn't know whether you reimbursed her,' Mr Nipperess said, adding, however, that the company would not object to reimbursement. The trial continues before Magistrate Lambert Lee.