A former site laboratory technician has been jailed for eight months for falsifying test records for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption last month charged 19 former laboratory staff at Jacobs China Limited, a contractor of the Civil Engineering and Development Department, for their alleged roles in producing false concrete compression tests.
Wong Kwok-yiu, 61, had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of using a false instrument. Acting Principal Magistrate Ivy Chui handed down the sentence at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
The court previously heard that, on two occasions between September 1, 2012 and June 30, 2015, the defendant had falsely used a high strength concrete cube to falsify concrete compression tests, in order to replace the results of two original tests.
The original tests were performed unsatisfactorily due to his poor workmanship, after he either applied a wrong loading rate or used an incorrect cube for testing.
In mitigation, Wong’s lawyer said he admitted it was foolish of him not to face the issue, in order to avoid embarrassment. He apologised to the public in the mitigation letters submitted
Magistrate Chui said test forgeries were not acceptable, as the bridge’s structural safety could be harmed. She said Wong’s two falsified reports harmed the public interest and safety.
She said the crime was of a serious nature as Wong, an experienced technician, should not cover up his mistakes to avoid embarrassment.
The case of 18 other former staff, each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law, was transferred to the District Court for plea on December 7.
The Highways Department conducted tests again after the falsified results were exposed. It said last month that all test results met the standard.
The bridge project – with a price tag of over HK$120 billion – has been plagued by over-spending, delays, deadly accidents involving workers, instances of hacking, and falsified test results.
Last month, the government said Hong Kong will have to pay more for yet another budget overrun totalling RMB10 billion (HK$11.7 billion) for the China stretch of the bridge.