A recycling worker who tricked his way to HK$10,000 in student loans by claiming he had taken a college course was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison yesterday. Lai Kam-wah, 38, submitted a loan application to the Student Financial Assistance Agency some time between May and August 2007, falsely claiming he would enrol in a course for the Professional Certificate in Investment and Financial Planning at Hong Kong St Perth College. He later applied for the reimbursement by falsely stating he had an attendance rate of 70.59 per cent and passed an assessment. He received HK$10,000. In an interview with the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Lai said a former colleague had told him he could get a loan by enrolling in a course. Lai passed the exam by copying answers from a cheat sheet provided by his friend. Lai pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud and one of dealing with the proceeds of an indictable offence. A second count of fraud was withdrawn. Magistrate David Thomas sentenced Lai to 12 weeks for each of the convictions, which are to be served concurrently. In mitigation, a defence lawyer said Lai owed HK$80,000 to financial services companies and had acted on the advice of an ex-colleague. The student loan agency provides non-means-tested higher education loans. It reimburses candidates up to HK$10,000 if they pass an exam and attend 70 per cent of classes.