Ex-HKU surgery head in court on funds charges

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 July, 2011, 12:00am


The former head of surgery at the University of Hong Kong appeared in court yesterday to face charges that he misused more than HK$700,000 of the institution's funds to pay a domestic helper.

Top surgeon John Wong, 70, was also accused of covering up a subordinate's embezzlement, and cheating on overseas travel expenses through false accounting in a firm he set up.

He was granted bail at Eastern Court and the case was transferred to the District Court for a hearing on July 19.

Wong, who was investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, faces two charges of misconduct in public office and two of false accounting.

He was head of the university's surgery department when the alleged offences took place. The department set up the Skills Development Centre in 1995 to provide medical training to medical workers.

One of the misconduct charges alleges that Wong used HK$731,347 from the centre's bank accounts to pay a domestic helper - who also worked as a driver - between January 29, 2002 and January 30, 2007.

Another misconduct charge alleges Wong failed to report to the university that his subordinate, Chan Sau-hung, had stolen more than HK$2.67 million from the centre's bank account between 2004 and 2006.

Wong also allegedly loaned money to Chan to replenish the bank account and cover up the theft. He had also allegedly allowed her to resign in August 2007 without being investigated or disciplined by the university, so that she could receive full payments from the staff provident fund worth nearly HK$699,000.

The other two charges allege Wong falsified entries in the director's report and accounts of Unisurgical Limited - a company he set up in 2005 and of which he was sole shareholder and effectively director. The charges relate to the director's report and accounts for the year ending March 2006, and March 2007, in which HK$696,935 and HK$74,123, respectively, in overseas travel expenses were claimed.

Wong graduated from the University of Sydney in 1966, and was HKU's head of surgery from 1982 to 2008.