Gambler sent to jail for defrauding companies

A HEAVY gambler who defrauded companies of millions of dollars worth of goods to pay off debts to loansharks was jailed for a total of five years by the District Court yesterday.

Kwan Po-keung, 32, pleaded guilty to four counts of obtaining property by deception. The offences happened between May 9 and July 1, 1991.

Senior Crown Counsel Evena Chan left a charge of evasion of liability by deception on the file after Kwan pleaded not guilty.

He was jailed for a total of three years for the four charges.

The court heard the defendant issued cheques to three companies to buy thousands of metres of fabric worth more than $7.5 million. The cheques bounced.

Deputy Judge Kwan also activated a one-year suspended sentence imposed on the defendant by another judge on June 28, 1991, a day before he entered into a contract to buy $4 million worth of fabrics from one of the victim companies. The one-year jail term is to run consecutively with the three-year term.

Defence counsel C. P. Pang said his client was a heavy gambler who had borrowed between $2 million and $3 million from loansharks after he lost money on gambling in 1991.

Mr Pang said Kwan had committed the offences after he was pressed to repay the debts.

The court heard the loansharks painted threats on the walls outside Kwan's mother's flat.

In a separate case, Kwan pleaded guilty to a count of obtaining property by deception and four counts of using an identity card relating to another person. The offences happened between August and December last year.

He was sentenced to one year's jail to run consecutively with the other four years.