A Kwun Tong district councillor was sentenced to 18 months in prison yesterday for submitting false claims of more than $100,000 for his assistants' pay over three years. Philip Ng Chung-tak, 49, pleaded guilty to three charges of conspiracy to defraud and one of incitement of conspiracy to defraud in the District Court. Prosecutors dropped two other charges. Deputy District Judge Li Wai-chi expressed disappointment at Ng's greed, describing the fraud as a systematic one that took place over a considerable period of time. Under the District Council Ordinance, a councillor sentenced to more than three months in jail for an offence is disqualified. But the Home Affairs Bureau refused to comment on Ng's status yesterday because of a possible appeal. The judge reduced the sentence from two years to 18 months after taking into account his guilty plea and his contributions to public service. Ng, a Liberal Party member who had held the seat since 2000, was arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in March last year after he was suspected of having instructed his two former assistants to sign payment slips acknowledging wages inflated by more than $40,000 in total. He also admitted inciting a woman to pose as his assistant in order to claim monthly reimbursement of $7,000 from Kwun Tong District Council in 2002. The offences, committed between 2000 and 2003, resulted in false claims totalling $114,000. But Ng's counsel argued his client had never pocketed the fraud money. Instead, he spent it on public services, he said.