Police officer 'turned blind eye' for restaurant discount, court told

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2012, 3:34am

A former Wan Chai divisional police commander appeared in court yesterday, accused of receiving gifts and discounts worth HK$5,500 from a Causeway Bay restaurant in exchange for turning a blind eye to it serving alcohol with out a liquor licence.

Superintendent Titus Wong Koon-ho, 51, faces one count of misconduct in public office for allegedly enjoying discounts worth a total of HK$4,594.5 when he dined with friends and colleagues in Chen Teen Bistro on three occasions between June 6 and August 7 last year.

He also received a bottle of whisky worth HK$1,050, according to documents submitted to court. Wong was also accused of drinking alcohol at the hot pot restaurant before it was granted a liquor licence.

A video clip played in Eastern Court showed Wong denying any wrongdoing as ICAC officers took a cautionary statement from him. He said he had not received any advantages from the restaurant, that he did not know he had been offered a discount and had no memory of receiving whisky.

"If I wanted to take advantage, I would not pay by credit card," he said in the video clip.

He said he enjoyed drinking alcohol when having hot pot, and would not check the invoice before paying. He said he usually paid cash, not by credit cards. "Maybe I was very drunk," he said.

In the video, Wong admitted he often dined at the Chen Teen Bistro, which was called Original Hot Pot before March last year.

He also admitted he knew the staff, including manager Chan Dai-wing, after being introduced by a police constable. He also helped colleagues book tables.

On three occasions, words like "compliments to officer Wong", "special offers for officer Wong" and "20 per cent off for manager Chan's friend, superintendent Wong, with complimentary Chivas Royal Salute 21" appeared on the receipts, the court was told.

Another video clip, taken secretly by ICAC officers at the restaurant, showed Wong dining and drinking alcohol with friends in a VIP room on August 7.

Wong, who was also responsible for advising the Liquor Licensing Board whether to grant licences, gave a "no objection" to the board on Chen Teen's application on August 8, one day after he received a bottle of whisky and HK$586.9 discount while dining there. The board granted the licence on October 18.

Court documents said Wong's receipt of advantage was "abnormal" and he did not declare it to his superior.

Wong was transferred to the 999 call station before being suspended from duty when he was charged.

The case continues today before magistrate Adriana Tse.