Hong Kong’s anti-corruption agency has charged an insurance agent turned immigration officer on suspicion of using false information to misdirect an internal inquiry into his employment status and conspiring with others to defraud a company.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption on Sunday said 29-year-old Yau Sing-ho was charged last Thursday with one count of using documents with intent to deceive his principal, a violation of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.
The suspect had worked as a licensed insurance agent with MetLife, which was later taken over by FWD Life Insurance Company, and allegedly held on to the position while serving as an immigration officer between September 2018 and October 2020, it said.
Under the Civil Service Regulation, government employees must obtain permission from their superiors before taking up any paid work outside their public duties.
“Civil servants should uphold honesty and integrity, and should never partake in any corrupt and illegal activities to obtain personal gain,” the commission said.
The commission also charged Yau and three former FWD Life Insurance agents with two counts of conspiracy to defraud. The three others, aged 32 to 37, comprise Ricky Tang Tsz-lok, Uno Tang Sin-yiu and Leung Chi-kwong.
According to the anti-corruption body, Yau, who was also a senior relationship manager at MetLife, had worked with Uno Tang and Leung under Ricky Tang, an associate division director at the company.
Between August 2018 and March 2020, Yau, Uno Tang and Ricky Tang conspired to defraud MetLife by falsely claiming that Yau was the agent responsible for handling five insurance policy applications.
The company later signed off on the applications, issued the policies and paid the trio a commission and allowances. All four defendants are also suspected of making another false claim for another insurance policy over the same period.
The agency said Yau received more than HK$110,000 (US$14,100) in commissions and allowances from MetLife over the 19-month period, while the other three collectively earned more than HK$20,000 from six insurance policies.
In September 2020, the Immigration Department began investigating Yau over concerns the civil servant was still working as an insurance agent without authorisation.
The immigration officer allegedly produced a memorandum and four documents that falsely stated he had resigned from MetLife in mid-September 2018, with Yau also claiming he had not taken on any unauthorised work or accepted any commissions since he joined the civil service.
The department later referred a complaint against Yau to the anti-corruption body, with investigators finding that he had never applied for permission to continue working as an insurance agent.
The commission said the department and FWD Life Insurance had assisted with its investigation.
The four suspects have been released on bail and will enter a plea at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Monday.