Hong Kong Man Used Forgery To Get Government Jobs – And Even Applied To ICAC

Hong Kong Man Used Forgery to Get Government Jobs – and Even Applied to ICAC
(Photo: Facebook/Journo Digest)

A Hong Kong man confessed about forging his Australian university graduate certificate. This resulted in at least five government offices paying him over HK$1.13 million (US$144,000) in salary over nine years.

According to South China Morning Post, the District Court head Poon Hoi-kan also applied to a clerical position at the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). The latter is responsible for investigating frauds in the metro.

It was in December 2015 (two years after) when he finally got arrested, following the graft-busted rejected his application. It was only after a corruption investigation when his offenses were found out.

Now a business development executive who owns an accounting firm, Poon pleaded guilty on Wednesday to at least four counts of utilizing copies of false instruments. He also got another two counts for obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception, while six other charges were left on the court file.

According to defense counsel Daniel Marash SC, Poon admitted about being regretful of his "stupid mistake" and has since repaid all HK$1,133 million involved in the case.

"He's not a bad man," Marash said arguing for a non-custodial sentence. "This is an exceptional case."

But as far as the district judge Pang Chung-ping is concerned, the case significantly involved repeat offenses. It is not just a momentary lapse of judgment, which Poon's legal attorney tries to insinuate.

Yahoo! News reports that Poon will be facing up to seven years in prison. Sentencing was adjourned to September 19.

The case centered on a bachelor's degree certificate in applied science from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, which the accused failed to acquire after his enrolment in February 1999.

Marash further revealed that his client studied for three years. However, he did not manage to pass some subjects and was deemed not a graduate of the university.

Still, Poon was able to get his hands on a copy of the certificate while serving as a clerk with the Education Bureau's Teacher Registration Team sometime between 2002 and 2004.

Prosecutors said that he covered the name on the certificate with that of his own and, later on, produced a forged copy dated December 19, 2001.

The falsified document was further utilized in about six job applications, all of which were made from May 2004 to June 2013. This eventually led to Poon successfully getting a job in five of the applications, which were submitted to the Home Affairs Department and the Student Financial Assistance Agency.

As for his application to ICAC in 2013, it was ultimately rejected after he refused to cooperate with the vetting procedures.

Marash argued none of the jobs Poon applied for required the skills involved in the false degree and said his client was overqualified for those positions.

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