Thursday, November 26, 2015   

Four held on RTHK script con

Albert Wong and Mimi Lau

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has arrested four people, including a disc jockey and a deputy head of Radio Television Hong Kong, on corruption-related charges.

David Ho Chung-yan, a deputy head of RTHK 2 and director of the program Teen Power, and disc jockey Vera Lee, who is also involved with Teen Power, were arrested over the past two days for committing scams totaling about HK$70,000 from 1995 to 2001.

They are alleged to have conspired and charged for writing scripts for various programs when they did no such work. Sources say they received between several hundred dollars to a thousand dollars for each script.

Another former disc jockey and her mother are suspected of having aided the conspiracy by using their bank accounts to receive payments from the radio station.

All four have been arrested and are now out on bail.

In a brief statement the ICAC said they were arrested "in relation to a corruption inquiry over alleged false claims of service charges purportedly concerning various programs of RTHK between 1995 and 2001."

Ho is also a senior program officer and known for his involvement in campaigns to encourage teenagers to participate in more civic and community activities.

In 2001, he launched the "Distinguished Star Volunteers Campaign" with the Home Affairs Bureau and 13 youth organizations. The Teen Power program is still on air and encourages greater political and cultural awareness.

Just last month, Lee, better known to he
r listeners as "La La Lam," launched Hong Kong's first gay show on RTHK 2. The talk show, We are Family, includes guests and phone-ins and is usually broadcast between midnight and 2am Saturday.

A spokesman for RTHK said it was aware of the arrests and pledged to assist in the investigation, although it could not comment while it was under way.

It was not known whether Ho and Lee have been suspended from duty.

RTHK Programme Staff Union chairman Janet Mak Lai-ching said she knew Ho and Lee but did not wish to comment at this stage.

The arrests follow a damning audit report just two months ago that criticized the government-funded broadcaster for lax financial controls and a "culture of noncompliance."

The Audit Commission said the broadcaster, which has an annual budget of about HK$400 million, had problems complying with regulations on staff management, entertainment expenses, overtime claims, and the outsourcing of services.

RTHK chief Chu Pui-hing is expected to respond to the criticisms in the coming months.

RTHK has been in trouble with the ICAC in the past, with staff being convicted of disguising pay rises and false tendering services. In March 2005 former RTHK project coordinator Cheung King-man was given a six- month sentence, suspended for two years, for unfair bidding practices involving HK$740,000.

District Court Judge Kevin Browne at the time chided the broadcaster for "turning a blind eye" to irregularities in paper work.

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