Police crashed cars in $3.5m scam: court
A WOMAN police inspector and five other officers were partners in a ''crash for cash'' scheme to con insurance companies out of more than $3.5 million, the District Court was told yesterday.
Senior Crown Counsel Philip Cantrill said 40 claims to 12 insurance companies involved cars crashing into concrete blocks and collisions with rocks, which suddenly appeared in the middle of the road.
In another six claims, the driver reported that after stopping at the top of a ramp leading into the sea, the vehicle inexplicably rolled into the water, but not so far that it was difficult to recover.
No one was ever injured, no matter how severe the alleged damage, and there were no independent witnesses to the accidents involving 20 cars.
The ringleaders of the syndicate are alleged to be Station Sergeant Chung Chun-yam, 33, and former police officer Chan Ying-kai, 37.
Both are partners in Foon Fan Motors, which with one exception, carried out or arranged the repairs.
Chan's wife, Josephine Hung, 31, and his driver, Lee Yun-loi, 35, are also on trial on charges of conspiracy to defraud.
Chung - who is accused of being the orchestrator of the claims - was himself a driver in no less than 10 claims and was never injured.
In at least one case, he not only drove the vehicle but wrote out the quote for repairs.
Mr Cantrill said that notwithstanding his shocking record of claims, Chung was a trained police driver with a clear driving record within the police force.
There are a total of 16 defendants, two of whom are women, on trial before Judge Longley.
They include Inspector Lorraine Lee Wai-ching, 28, Yu Chi-kin, 34, Tsang Wai-tat, 31, Lee Kwok-keung, 36, Shao Shun-keung, 27, and Chung - all police officers who are on suspension pending the outcome of the trial.
Mr Cantrill, assisted by Anna Lai, said the syndicate operated in various parts of the territory between 1987 and 1991.
It was alleged that the syndicate was successful in claiming from various insurance companies and underwriters not less than $3.5 million for damage arising out of faked accidents, false accident or damage reports or highly inflated claims for repairs.
On April 27, 1991, police raided a Sheung Shui garage operated by Foon Fan Motors.
Vehicles on the premises were later found to be stolen and engine and chassis numbers had been altered, apparently to make it appear they were legitimate vehicles, Mr Cantrill said.
The hearing continues.