image

Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong government doctor sentenced for providing free medical tests for ineligible family members

Magistrate says Grace Chui Sing-chi, 54, ‘abused her powers and discretion for personal purposes’ in arranging free laboratory tests for family

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 October, 2018, 9:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 October, 2018, 9:35pm

A former Hong Kong government doctor was given a suspended jail sentence on Monday and fined HK$20,000 (US$2,552) for arranging 75 medical tests performed free of charge for her family members over the course of 12 years.

Kowloon City Court heard Grace Chui Sing-chi, 54, provided free consultations and tests to her daughter and three siblings on 67 occasions by misrepresenting to two government laboratories that they were eligible members aged 65 or above.

The conduct spanned 12 years from 2004 to 2016, while Chui was officer-in-charge of San Po Kong Elderly Health Centre.

When confronted, Chui apologised and told investigators that she did so out of concern for the health of her family members and that she did not know it was improper.

But that was rejected by Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing, who concluded that Chui knew what she had done was dishonest and unlawful, and found her conduct was so serious that it amounted to misconduct in public office.

This is a case of dishonest appropriation by a public officer of valuable human and technological resources belonging to the public and the government
Magistrate Joseph To Ho-shing

“This is a case of dishonest appropriation by a public officer of valuable human and technological resources belonging to the public and the government, public resources that are of obvious importance, because the laboratories’ reports contained technical information of diagnostic significance,” the judge wrote in a 44-page judgment.

To said Chui’s conduct resulted in nurses and two government laboratories having to do her “private bidding” in processing the requests, performing the tests and compiling the 75 reports.

“Her work experience in the civil service must have brought home to her that there are rules and regulations concerning conflict of interests and abuse of official position,” he continued. “She abused her powers and discretion for personal purposes.”

Chui was found guilty after trial on Monday on one count of misconduct in public office, for which she was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and fined HK$20,000.

The case arose from a corruption complaint in 2016.

The defendant has left her post at the centre, where consultations for eligible people aged 65 or over cost HK$45.