The chief telecommunications engineer of the Hong Kong police force has told a court that his career ended after a document he falsified was uncovered during an integrity check. The discovery was made whilst he was under consideration to become a top government official.

Wong Chun-kau, 58, allegedly used a false document to mislead the government into granting him a downpayment loan and home financing allowances totalling over HK$1.9 million. The document, dated September 8, 1997, claimed he was single when he was a telecommunications engineer with the police. However, he was married and his wife was receiving housing benefits from her work.

He pleaded guilty to the crime last month. In mitigation on Monday, his defence lawyer Senior Counsel Gerard McCoy revealed that he was a candidate for the undersecretary for information and technology, but the integrity check conducted by the government uncovered the document.

Wong Chun-kau. File

According to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, which charged Wong, the case arose from a complaint referred by the government’s Treasury. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the alleged offence.

McCoy said that Wong had contributed a lot to the police force and the city, in that he had designed a globally renowned police communication system. He said Wong lost HK$8.2 million in retirement payments as well as HK$50,000 in pension payments each month, though Wong still decided to plead guilty in order to show genuine remorse, reported Ming Pao.

McCoy also said Wong committed the offence in 1997, when many Chinese leaders had visited Hong Kong for the Handover, thus he had a heavy workload in creating a secure communications system for the Chinese, Hong Kong and British governments.

At the same time, his wife was pregnant, but he was not fulfilling his responsibility as a husband and father, and they lived separately for four years afterwards. Wong cried when McCoy revealed the incident.

However, magistrate Cheung Kit-yee said that, even if Wong was working hard, he would not have forgotten that he was married, and he was obtaining benefits until 2003.

Secretary for Innovation and Technology Nicholas Yang. Photo: GovHK.

More than 100 mitigation letters were presented to the court, including those from Secretary for Information and Technology Nicholas Yang, lawmaker Lo Wai-kwok and Police Assistant Commissioner Steve Hui.

Wong was reportedly a choice for the position before the establishment of the Information and Technology Bureau in late 2015. But the position was later taken up by David Chung.

The sentencing will take place on March 15. Wong was allowed to post bail.

Not-for-profit, run by journalists and completely independent. Contribute to our critical month-long HK$1m Funding Drive, help safeguard our independence and secure our operations for another year. Read how carefully we spend every cent in our Annual/Transparency Report.

[give_goal id=”150839″ show_text=”true” show_bar=”true”]

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.