A mainland businessman was slammed by a magistrate for introducing a poor culture into Hong Kong after he admitted bribing an HSBC assistant manager with a bottle of expensive perfume to facilitate his application to open a bank account. “He thought it was okay to give perfume,” a lawyer for Chen Zhengxi told Kowloon City Court. “The gift-giving culture is not a big deal on the mainland.” The 44-year-old director of Yangska Holdings (Hong Kong) on Monday asked for a lenient sentence so he could bring the message on the need to abide by the law back to the mainland after he pleaded guilty to one count of offering an advantage to an agent. He said he committed the act out of foolishness based on a cultural difference and a lack of understanding of the city’s laws. “He didn’t actually use money in a flagrant way to ask the bank to allow him to submit fewer documents, it was just a gift,” his lawyer said. But principal magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen rejected the claim and suggested instead that Chen held different values on the need to abide by the law. “[Chen is] introducing a poor culture into Hong Kong,” the magistrate said. “A lenient sentence would encourage others to introduce that culture and have an impact on Hong Kong’s culture of integrity.” He explained that there were two types of cultural difference, one involving conduct that was legal abroad but illegal in Hong Kong. “But this case is the second type in which the conduct is illegal both abroad and in Hong Kong,” Law explained. “No reputable country would permit bribery in their legal system.” The court previously heard that on July 12 Chen offered a bottle of Chanel No 5 Vaporisateur Spray valued at HK$1,350 to the HSBC employee who was processing his application to open a company account. He wanted to make the application easier because the employee asked for more documents, a procedure that he recalled was simpler when he first opened an account with the bank in 2012. The offer of the gift was immediately turned down and the matter reported to management, which referred the case to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Chen will be sentenced on Tuesday.