A former police officer has been sentenced to 21 months behind bars for money laundering and soliciting advantages. She appeared at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Friday, local media reported.

Eastern Magistrates’ Courts. File photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Local media reported that Au Kar-man earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of “conspiracy to deal with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence” and two counts of “prescribed officer soliciting an advantage” in two separate cases.

The 47-year-old, who used to work on the Eastern District’s investigation team, was accused of soliciting loans with a value more than HK$1 million on two occasions between January and May 2020.

Soliciting advantage

According to a press release issued by the city’s anti-graft watchdog, Au was assigned to handle a theft case in November 2019, during which she interviewed the complainant of the case. She called the complainant two months later and asked for a HK$1 million loan, promising a monthly repayment of HK$20,000 with a HK$5,000 interest. That request was turned down.

Independent Commission Against Corruption. File photo: GovHK.

In May 2020, Au successfully solicited a loan of HK$60,000 from an arrestee of a fighting case, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said. “The defendant had never sought any special permissions from the Chief Executive regarding her above solicitation and acceptance of loans,” the statement read.

The court heard that Au was urged to repay the debt but she did not do that, the Witness reported.

According to local media reports, Au also allegedly lent two bank accounts to a man to launder a total of HK$530,000 between October 2019 and February 2020. She was said to have received around HK$40,000 as reward.

‘Bring shame to the police force’

Au earlier pleaded for leniency in mitigation, saying she needed to raise two children on her own after discovering her husband had an affair and she had economic difficulties. Magistrate Lau Suk-han in sentencing said an unsatisfactory marriage and economic hardships were not justifiable reasons for her offences.

Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Lau said as an officer responsible for criminal investigations, Au was familiar with the proceedings of cases and she knowingly committed the offences. Lau added Au’s behaviour “brought shame to the police force.”

After considering Au’s guilty plea, Lau sentenced her to 12 months in prison for the money laundering charges and nine months for soliciting and accepting the loan money. The total jail term was 21 months as Lau ordered the sentences to be served consecutively.

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Almond Li

Almond Li is a Hong Kong-based journalist who previously worked for Reuters and Happs TV as a freelancer, and as a reporter at Hong Kong International Business Channel, Citizen News and Commercial Radio Hong Kong. She earned her Masters in Journalism at the University of Southern California. She has an interest in LGBT+, mental health and environmental issues.