Two colleagues were allegedly offered cash to retrieve new banknotes bearing special serial numbers A former Bank of China (Hong Kong) clerk was charged yesterday with bribing colleagues to retrieve and retain new banknotes bearing special serial numbers. The banknotes involved included two HK$100 notes bearing the serial numbers '111111' and '888888', according to a government source. Lee Muk-yiu, 46, who was responsible for distributing new banknotes to branches, will face two counts under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance of offering an advantage. Kan Hin-kuen, 34, a former cashier at the bank, and Tsui Tsz-tuen, 45, a clerk at the bank, each face one count of accepting an advantage. In a separate case, Chan Kwai-chun, 56, a former senior clerk at the bank, faces three counts of accepting an advantage and two counts of theft. The four defendants, who are on ICAC bail, will appear in Eastern Court on Tuesday. All the alleged offences took place between January and October last year, according to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Anti-graft officers began an investigation after receiving a complaint from the bank early this year. The ICAC said the arrests were made a few months ago and the four were charged yesterday. In the first case, Lee is alleged to have offered sums of cash to Kan as rewards for retrieving and retaining banknotes bearing special serial numbers sent from the bank's vault to the branch where Kan worked, and for passing the special banknotes to Lee. Lee is also alleged to have offered sums of cash to Tsui as rewards for arranging for special banknotes to be packed in a way that maximised the chances of them being delivered to the branch where Kan was working. The ICAC said Chan was alleged to have accepted bribes of HK$3,000, HK$1,000 and several hundred dollars on separate occasions from Lee, as rewards for 'conniving at Lee's bringing banknotes into the bank vault to swap with banknotes bearing special serial numbers'. Chan is also alleged to have stolen five banknotes issued by BOCHK, including two HK$100 banknotes bearing special serial numbers. A spokeswoman for Bank of China said what had happened was a 'rare and isolated incident'. She said it was inappropriate to comment on the cases. The bank's internal controls over banknotes had been found to be effective, she said. It was the bank which had discovered the alleged offences and reported them to the ICAC. 'We constantly review our internal control system to ensure that it's up to date, and if further improvement can be made,' she said. The bank had provided full co-operation and assistance to facilitate the investigation. She said the four former and current employees charged by the ICAC had been dealt with in accordance with the bank's internal procedures.