COURTS

Siblings jailed for TV quiz bribery that saw them win HK$350,000 in gameshow

Brother and sister offer Now TV employee HK$46,000 for information to help them fraudulently win money in live game show

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 November, 2013, 4:44am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 November, 2013, 4:44pm

A brother and sister have been jailed for offering a bribe of about HK$46,000 to a Now TV engineer in return for tips to win HK$350,000 in a game show.

Fung Kin-fung, 29, and Fung Kwan-wai, 28, pleaded guilty in Eastern Court yesterday to one count of conspiracy to defraud. The elder brother also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to offer an advantage to an agent.

Defence counsel said in mitigation that the sister was encouraged by her boyfriend engineer, Desmond Ho Siu-hung, to join the fraud scheme and that he was the mastermind.

The couple sought to make a quick buck because they wanted to get married and repay credit card loans, lawyer Cindy Lee Shin-man said.

The woman took the rap for Ho when graft-busters arrested her, and all the winnings went to Ho, Lee said. The court did not hear why the engineer was not prosecuted.

"The court has particularly considered that [Kwan-wai] was led to commit a crime mainly by a man she loved deeply," magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing said. "Her behaviour has warranted a jail term for her brother - for which she might not forgive herself for the rest of her life."

To said using fraudulent means to secure winnings in a game show was no different from other fraud, and jailed the brother and sister for four months and 10 months, respectively.

The court heard that the siblings, their younger sister Fung Hing-yee and a friend, Chan Po-ming, played the live game show Action To Money, which was aired between February 9 and December 29, 2011.

In each game, the host asked eight questions. A HK$100,000 cash prize was shared among audience members who correctly answered all questions.

Chan and the three Fungs won cash prizes totalling HK$348,830. The Independent Commission Against Corruption declined to reveal how the offence came to light.

Prosecutor Henry Ma said: "Ho told [Kwan-wai] he would provide the correct answers … by mobile phone while on duty during the airtime of the game.

"[Kin-fung] disclosed to Chan that he could guarantee Chan's winnings … with the assistance of a master who could foretell the answers of the game."

Chan had to give Kin-fung 65 per cent of the cash he won. Ma said 60 per cent of the winnings were then passed to Ho, the "master".

When Ho found out about Chan's participation in the scheme, he requested 70 per cent of Chan's winnings, but Kin-fung said he would top up the remaining 5 per cent with his own money.

The defence lawyer said Kin-fung took part in the offence to help his sister save money and to help Chan, who was unemployed at the time.