A former chauffeur to Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping was sentenced to 100 hours' community service in Eastern Court yesterday for tipping off a friend about an ICAC investigation. Cheung Hay-kin, 41, had earlier been found guilty of disclosing without reasonable excuse to TVB executive Ho Lai-chuen that he was being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Cheung's barrister, Nigel De Boinville, said his client, who had a clear record, was 'extremely unlucky' in overhearing a conversation between his boss and his boss' personal secretary in June last year, which subsequently led him to believe that Mr Ho was being investigated. The court heard earlier that Cheung knew Mr Ho, who had helped him find a job. After overhearing the conversation, Cheung rang and told Mr Ho he was being investigated by the ICAC. Mr Ho has not been charged with any offence. Mr De Boinville said Cheung had been living on a tight budget, making about $10,000 a month after his contract with the government was suspended in July last year when he was arrested. He added that Cheung was remorseful and his mistake was 'one-off'. Although the maximum sentence under the charge was a year in prison and a $20,000 fine, Magistrate Johnny Chan Jong-herng said the offence was committed in 'rather unusual circumstances' and he decided to give him 'one chance, notwithstanding the seriousness of the offence'. Speaking after the sentence, Cheung said anyone who had committed an offence should be punished and that a community service order was one type of punishment. The Home Affairs chief said he respected the court's judgment. 'He has been suspended from his work since he was arrested. We terminated his contract after the court made the judgment,' he said. 'We have always been very careful in hiring people ... and have always followed civil service recruitment procedures.'