A Hong Kong construction worker linked to the airport’s third runway project has been sentenced to six months in prison after being convicted of bribery.

Chu Kwun-fai appeared at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts in front of Magistrate Tsang Hing-tung. The 50-year-old has been remanded in custody since December 19, after he was found guilty of eight charges under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

west kowloon court
West Kowloon Law Courts Building. Photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

Chu was convicted of seven counts of accepting advantages and one count of soliciting advantages.

According to the prosecution’s case, Chu was working for MLife Engineering Limited at the time of the offence. The company was responsible for recruiting construction workers for the Hong Kong International Airport’s third runway project.

Chu, according to the prosecution, accepted and solicited around HK$6,300 from two workers to help acquire and assure them employment with MLife Engineering.

The defendant was sentenced to a total of six months in prison for the eight charges, and was also ordered to pay HK$6,250, which will be deducted from the HK$10,000 Chu posted for bail.

Chu’s lawyer said on Tuesday that the defendant had a positive background report, and that he respected and enjoyed his work. The defence also submitted five documents – including letters from Chu and his family, as well as his secondary school records – to show that he “did not have a bad nature.”

third runway
The third runway began operation on July 8, 2022. Photo: Airport Authority Hong Kong.

According to the lawyer, Chu came to Hong Kong from mainland China and had two kids. The construction worker was the breadwinner of the family as his wife stayed at home.

The magistrate, when handing down the sentence, said that the defendant had always abided by the law prior to the offence, adding that Chu said he had not known his actions were against the law at the time of the incident.

Tsang told the 50-year-old to abide by the law from now on.

“Hong Kong’s reputation as a clean city took many years to build,” said the magistrate, adding that the court would not take cases like Chu’s lightly.

Chu was among more than a dozen people linked to the third runway project charged by the city’s corruption watchdog the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.