Hong Kong’s Security Bureau hits out at head of drug rehab facility after embezzlement denial

Hong Kong’s Security Bureau has accused Alman Chan Siu-cheuk, the wanted principal of drug rehabilitation centre Christian Zheng Sheng College, of trying to use public relations tactics to shirk responsibility after he denied embezzlement allegations.

In response to his comments, the bureau said on Friday night that if Chan believed he was innocent “he should return to Hong Kong to accept the police’s investigation instead of sending electronic messages to his supporters to confuse the public”.

Chan, who lives in the United Kingdom, broke months of silence with a rejection of an accusation by Hong Kong police that he was involved in the theft of HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) in donations raised from a 2020 campaign for the college’s operations.

But he did not respond to police’s core accusation that the funds were channelled from the college’s parent, Zheng Sheng Association, into the personal bank accounts of three former directors of the charitable body, including himself.

Chan, along with the association’s founder, Jacob Lam Hay-sing, and another former director, Chan Yau-chi, has been wanted by police since January. Four other former directors were also arrested at that time in relation to misappropriation of funds and fraud allegations.

Alman Chan’s letter, seen by the Post on Friday, stated that he had never misappropriated funds the association’s former board of directors entrusted to him and that the money was instead used to expand its service scope outside Hong Kong.

He added that he migrated to the United Kingdom with his wife to live with their son in 2021, and said the association’s former board of directors hoped he would continue the college’s services in the country.

“I never imagined that an appeal to the public to support Zheng Sheng’s drug treatment work would be misunderstood as a false statement,” he said.

“I have never embezzled funds entrusted to me by the Christian Zheng Sheng Association to expand our services.

“I do not understand that the various ministries we have been carrying out outside Hong Kong can be considered embezzlement of public funds.”

As an investigation unfolded, police froze all the bank accounts of the association, the college and the wanted directors.

In the letter, Chan revealed for the first time some financial data of the association and the college that were not even disclosed during the 2020 fundraising exercise.

He said the two entities’ monthly expenses were at least HK$1.1 million.

Between November in 2020 and January, the total expenses were at least HK$42.9 million plus HK$20 million outstanding construction fees for a building at the campus at Ha Keng on Lantau Island.

Christian Zheng Sheng College on Lantau Island. Photo: Jonathan Wong

The two-storey building was funded with at least HK$62 million from the Security Bureau’s Beat Drugs Fund in 2015 and 2016. The building, comprising classrooms and kitchens, was operational in the second half of 2022.

The association’s new board of directors said the college would suspend operations on July 7 as its bank accounts were frozen.

The bureau said as a result of the abrupt decision to stop operating the college, the government would seek to take back its funding for the building and the Lands Department would consider reclaiming the campus, while the bureau’s narcotics division would study possible future use of the facilities.

Alman Chan said in the letter that police had never contacted or consulted him before they made public that he was wanted in January.

He also explained that the association’s board of directors decided to launch an overseas ministry on December 6, 2021, and later registered a non-profit organisation in the UK on February 15, 2022.

“The first allocation to the UK in April 2022 has nothing to do with the operational funds of the Christian Zheng Sheng Association and the college,” he said.

All ministries in and outside Hong Kong were based on the decisions made by the association’s former board of directors, he said, adding that a school branch was established in Fujian province in 2003.

“Current services in Britain have begun,” he added. “Hundreds of people have received the services we provide.

“Among those receiving services, there are people of different races, as well as emotionally disturbed, hidden youth and friends who have used drugs.”

Alman Chan and founder Lam stepped down as the association’s directors on April 12, but the bureau said their involvement with the board remained despite existing directors claiming they cut ties with the pair.



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