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Hong Kong courts

Fired Hong Kong primary school principal gets extra time to plea in fake records case

Judge grants defence request to enable retired educator to receive prosecution papers and legal advice, but bail amount increased to HK$10,000

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2018, 1:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2018, 1:43pm

A sacked Hong Kong primary school principal accused of using fake staff interview records to deceive the government was on Thursday granted four more weeks to decide her plea.

Tuen Mun Court heard prosecutors were ready to take plea from Chan Cheung-ping, 46, on one count of using a false instrument.

But acting principal magistrate Ivy Chui Yee-mei agreed to a defence request for more time to receive prosecution papers and legal advice.

However, Chui did not accept an offer to release Chan on HK$7,000 (US$892) bail. The judge instead increased the amount from the current HK$2,000 to HK$10,000, despite defence counsel revealing she had been unemployed since June due to a work injury.

Chan had identified herself in court documents as a retired person.

The case will return to court on October 18, when she is expected to indicate her plea.

The former Hing Tak School principal was accused of using on May 27 last year a false interview record form for job candidates dated July 16, 2016 – with the intention of inducing the Education Bureau’s chief school development officer, Brian Cheng Kwok-yan, to accept it as true.

The prosecution came a year after Chan was ousted by the school board before the start of the new academic year on August 18, 2017, in a majority vote of 17 for to two against, with three abstaining. Chan did not attend the meeting, claiming she was sick.

Her dismissal followed a series of controversies at the Tuen Mun school, including claims that admissions figures had been exaggerated to avoid a cut in funding.

There were also allegations of alienating teachers, not following procedures in hiring and promoting staff, and failing to respond to inquiries from the board.

Police began investigations in August last year.