Hong Kong’s anti-graft watchdog has pressed charges against a man who allegedly bribed a nurse with HK$1,000 in exchange for Covid-19 vaccination proof without receiving the actual jab.
Defendant Cheung Chin-hang, 25, was charged by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on Monday for allegedly breaching the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance by offering an advantage to an agent.
According to the ICAC, the defendant was a community health practitioner who worked at a District Health Centre, a government designated healthcare provider where vaccination proof – or an exemption certificate – was required for entry under the then-Vaccine Pass scheme.
Cheung was said to have offered HK$1,000 to a nurse at the Community Vaccination Centre at Osman Ramju Sadick Memorial Sports Center on September 21 last year and asked her to issue a vaccination record without inoculating him.
The nurse rejected Cheung’s bribe and reported the incident to Quality HealthCare Medical Services Limited, which was responsible for operating the vaccination centre.
The defendant will make their plea at the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Wednesday.
The requirement for people to present Covid-19 vaccine proof before entering restaurants, gyms and other designated venues was axed last December, more than 10 months after it was launched during the city’s fifth and worst wave of infections.
Hong Kong authorities cracked down on offences linked to the Vaccine Pass scheme, including jailing a nurse for six months after she admitted to issuing false Covid-19 vaccination records to six people despite not giving them a jab.
The government also invalidated more than 20,000 Covid-19 vaccination exemption certificates handed out by seven doctors suspected of malpractice last November. The annulment was originally halted after a court that ruled Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau had no such power, but the authorities later revised a Covid-19 law to empower the official to nullify the documents in question. A subsequent attempt to challenge the legal amendment was dismissed in court.
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