A senior official in Hong Kong’s government logistics department who admitted cheating the administration out of about HK$4.2 million in monthly rental allowances and down-payment loans over a 10-year period, escaped jail today. Leung Chiu-ping, 56, a controller of the Land Transport Division of the department before he was suspended last May, pleaded guilty earlier to one count of fraud. Sentencing Leung, District Court Judge Ivy Chui Yee-mei said the offence was too serious for the community order the defendant’s lawyer suggested. “He betrayed the generous trust placed in him by the government,” she said, adding that the amount Leung cheated was substantial. She sentenced Leung to eight months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence for two years after citing factors that allowed an exception. She noted that Leung voluntarily disclosed the crime and promised a full restitution, which he had already paid. Although Leung, she said, had swindled HK$4.2 million out of the government, he had to sell his property to repay that sum, which has increased to HK$7 million because of interest. This had a great impact on his family, said Chui, who also considered Leung’s contribution to the community during his long career with the government. READ MORE: Top civil servant admits defrauding Hong Kong government of HK$4.2 million in rent scams The court heard earlier that in December 1992, Leung applied for and was granted a Home Financing Scheme monthly allowance to rent a flat at Laguna City in Kwun Tong, two months after he joined the government as a transport manager. The property was sold in April 1994 but Leung submitted a false receipt to the Treasury that showed he was still renting the flat from October 8 to November 7, 1994. Under the scheme, a civil servant was given a maximum six-month break to make a new application after he ceased the old one. Leung should have made a new application on or before October 28, 1994, because his flat was sold in 1994. In March, 1995, Leung made another application for a down-payment loan under the scheme for the purchase of a property at Palm Springs in Yuen Long. The court heard that his application was successful and he was granted a loan of HK$1.46 million and monthly allowance totalling HK$2.6 million for a period from May 1, 1995 to May 22, 2003. But had the Treasury known that Leung’s application was made out of time he would not have been granted the fund, the court heard. Leung’s senior counsel Clive Grossman said his client’s case came to light after he told his superior about the bogus applications ahead of a promotion interview.