Principal Alman Chan, 2 directors of Hong Kong Christian charity on the run over alleged HK$50 million fraud

Principal Alman Chan, 2 directors of Hong Kong Christian charity on the run over alleged HK$50 million fraud

The principal and two other directors of a decades-old Hong Kong Christian charity are on the run after allegedly stealing HK$50 million (US$6.4 million) in donations raised to support the institution’s operations, senior police officials have revealed.

Four other directors of Christian Zheng Sheng Association set up 40 years ago to help drug addicts had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud, the force said on Thursday.

The Post has learned the three wanted directors are principal Alman Chan Siu-cheuk, 63, founder Lam Hay-sing, 69, and Chan Yau-chi. 62. The trio have fled the city.

A source familiar with the case said Chan had sold his assets, including a flat, before he left for the United Kingdom in November.

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Alman Chan Siu-cheuk, principal of Christian Zheng Sheng College, is wanted by police. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Police said the suspects at large had been put on a list of wanted people before the arrest operations were conducted on Wednesday and Thursday.

Preliminary investigations suggested that the HK$50 million had been transferred to bank accounts in the UK and the United States, set up by the involved directors, Chief Inspector Yu Pok-ho of the New Territories South regional crime unit said.

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According to the force, a fundraising campaign was set up in 2020 to support the operation of the college and the principal claimed the donations received had dried up, leaving it in financial difficulties.

Senior Superintendent Iu Wing-kan of the same squad said police discovered that false declarations were made during the appeal for donations and the accounts suggested someone pocketed the money.

“Investigations revealed that directors of Christian Zheng Sheng Association transferred a large sum of money out of the association’s bank account to overseas destinations in 2022 and 2023,” he said.

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He added the money was not used for educational purposes as the principal claimed during the fundraising campaign.

“They are suspected of making false declarations and conspiracy to defraud,” Iu said.

After gathering evidence, police launched an arrest operation on Wednesday and Thursday and apprehended the four directors.

The four men, aged from 34 to 77, were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud – an offence punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

As of Thursday afternoon, the four suspects were still being held for questioning.

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Christian Zheng Sheng College at Cheung Chau. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

The acting senior superintendent said police had contacted the Security Bureau, Education Bureau and Social Welfare Department to ensure the operation of the college could continue and take care of the welfare of those affected.

According to police, there were 17 students in the college.

He said the investigation was continuing and did not rule out further arrests.

Established in 1985, the Christian-run group aims to help drug addicts through the process of rehabilitation, guiding them to start a new page in life, as well as rejoin and contribute to the community, according to its website.

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“The name – Zheng Sheng – is derived from the Bible’s ‘repent and redeem’, ‘from death unto life’,” the organisation said on its webpage.

Christian Zheng Sheng College was added on the list of Hong Kong government high schools in 1998, becoming the first in Southeast Asia with rehab functions.

According to its website, the college not only provides official education for young drug offenders in the city, but also accepts rehab students from Asian countries, such as Indonesia and Nepal.

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