Seven to face trial over insurance scam

Two mainlanders accused of deliberately blinding themselves to make HK$18 million in bogus insurance claims will stand trial in the District Court along with five other defendants.

The two allegedly submitted to operations blinding them in one eye.

Alleged mastermind, Kwok Wah-cheong, 46, an employee of one of the insurance companies, faces four charges of conspiracy to defraud with other defendants and a separate one of possessing 132 identity cards belonging to others.

He is alleged to have made false claims to the insurance firms that the eye injuries were accidents.

The other suspects appearing in Eastern Court yesterday, including mainlanders Liu Yanming and Gu Zhiyuan, and insurance agent Ho Shuk-yin, also face charges of conspiracy to defraud. Ho is also charged with using documents to deceive her employer, CMG Asia, and accepting an advantage, while Liu and Gu face immigration and identity-card-related charges.

No pleas were entered. Acting Principal Magistrate Colin Mackintosh, adjourned the case to November 1 to prepare papers for transfer to the District Court.

Kwok, Liu, Gu and Zhang Zhibao were remanded in custody.

Ho, Ngi Pui-lam and Kwok Yan-sang were granted bail.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption says the syndicate applied for insurance policies using lost ID cards. They then recruited mainlanders to undergo damaging eye surgery and act as policyholders, the ICAC says.