Hong Kong police officer found guilty of fraud over HK$26 million in mortgages

A Hong Kong court has found a senior police officer guilty of fraudulently obtaining mortgages in excess of HK$26 million (US$3.32 million) by concealing his affiliation with the force.

Superintendent Harbour Chan Hoi-kong, 50, appeared at the District Court on Friday to hear the verdict on two counts of fraud in relation to two mortgage applications made in 2019 involving a luxury house at Seaview Villas in Tai Po and a flat at Coastal Skyline in Tung Chung.

Deputy District Judge Edward Wong Ching-yu found Chan guilty on both counts as he had provided false documents to the Bank of East Asia and OCBC Wing Hang Credit.

Chan had claimed he worked in the private sector and made between HK$115,000 and HK$246,500 a month between July and December 2019.

But Chan, who joined the force in 1995, was making about HK$150,000 per month during the time of the offence.

Deputy District Judge Edward Wong found Harbour Chan guilty on both fraud counts as he had provided false documents to the Bank of East Asia and OCBC Wing Hang Credit. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

His co-defendant, businessman and former chief inspector Wong Ho-ngai, faced the same charges. But the judge only found him guilty of the charge relating to the bank and not the credit firm.

The defence had previously argued it was impossible for Chan to hide his identity from the lenders owing to his public profile.

In handing down his judgment, Wong noted that Chan was not a “widely known public person” in terms of his identity as a member of the force, even though he had a profile in some circles due to his published works and online commentary.

Chan enjoys a following on the Chinese X-like platform Weibo, where he comments extensively on social issues. He was arrested in May 2021 alongside a 47-year-old woman, who has not been charged.

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Regarding Wong Ho-ngai, part of the court’s consideration centred on his designation of automatic transfers to Chan as salary payments instead of dividends, which stemmed from a company where the former was the main investor and the latter was a shareholder.

The court had earlier heard from the prosecution that Wong Ho-ngai had transferred HK$245,000 monthly into Chan’s account for several months and designated the transaction as “salary” when it should have been stated as dividends.

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The judge noted that as the payments to Chan through automatic payment transfers had already lasted for a period of time before his mortgage application to OCBC Wing Hang Credit, there was no evidence that Wong Ho-ngai intended to defraud the firm. However, this did not apply to Chan’s mortgage application with the Bank of East Asia.

The pair were remanded in custody until sentencing on May 17.

Fraud is punishable by 14 years in prison, but capped at seven years when the case is tried before a district judge.

Responding to the verdict, police noted that the case had already entered legal proceedings and it would not comment.



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