image image

Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong accountant Leung Chi-yuen jailed for stealing HK$30m from Brio Electronic Commerce

Judge sentences 44-year-old man, who is already serving time in jail for a previous theft, to an additional five years and 10 months 

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 5:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 9:43pm

A “thoroughly dishonest” accountant stole almost HK$30 million from the company he worked for while on the run for another theft in which he stole more than HK$4 million from his previous employer, a court has heard.

Leung Chi-yuen, 44, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison at the High Court on Monday for stealing HK$29.6 million from government-appointed trading service provider, Brio Electronic Commerce, between 2010 and 2015. He pleaded guilty to one count of theft last year.

Before sentencing, Madam Justice Audrey Campbell-Moffat noted the crime was committed after Leung absconded from a 2010 trial, in which he was charged with stealing HK$4 million between 2006 and 2008 from a shipping company he worked for at the time.

“You are incapable of leading an honest life,” she said, calling him a “thoroughly dishonest man”.

“You are never allowed to be entrusted with finance of any sort,” she added, before also stripping him of his right to be a director of any company for 15 years.

Two directors held for fraud as Hong Kong travel firm closes, leaving at least 200 customers in limbo ahead of Easter holiday

Brio was appointed by the Hong Kong government to provide its electronic trading service until 2024.

Leung was tasked with helping customers deposit money into an e-platform called “eeTDEC”. But nine months into his post, he set up a company, which he named “ECTDEC” and began to deposit cheques he handled for Brio into his company’s bank account instead.

Between 2010 and 2015, 78 transactions were made and HK$29.6 million was deposited into the account.

Justice Campbell-Moffat said Leung’s gambit was a “completely premeditated” one, because he set up a company solely to be used as “an instrument of fraud”.

There was also an aggravating element, the judge said, noting that Leung committed the offence while on bail for another case. This, she said, showed his disregard for the law.

US company duped into sending US$3 million to Hong Kong account

By the end of 2015, only HK$1,515 remained in his account. Leung blamed it on his gambling addiction, but the judge on Monday refused to accept the explanation.

“You are not an addict. You just chose to spend your ill-gotten gains by throwing them away,” she said.

However, the judge took into account the jail term Leung is already serving as a result of the other theft case, to avoid excessive punishment.

Leung was sentenced earlier by the District Court to six years in jail. He is now serving a total prison term of almost 11 years.

In 2002, the court heard, Leung was also sentenced to three and a half years in jail over 23 theft charges.