senior technician and six staff jailed for bridge lab fix

Local | Stella Wong 12 Dec 2019

Stella Wong

The senior technician at the center of a conspiracy to fake strength tests on concrete blocks for the mega Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was jailed for 22 months yesterday.

Ng Kai-yiu, 64, received the jail sentence yesterday for the scandal that rocked the mega-bridge project, but it was already a reduced one after he turned "tainted witness" in the fraud trial at West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts.

Six other laboratory staff were sentenced to three months to two years' imprisonment. Four were given suspended two to eight months jail sentences, while two were ordered to do community service for the shorter duration in committing the crime. They all pleaded not guilty to charges.

The 13 were among 19 employees of government contractor Jacobs China who were hauled before the court.

The 19 were accused of changing computer dates when compiling reports and substituting real specimen cube samples with fake ones as they could not conduct the tests in time, but argued they were following orders from Mak Pui-shing, who was in charge of the testing laboratory of Jacobs China in Siu Ho Wan, and Ng.

In an earlier case, seven employees pleaded guilty to using a false instrument or conspiracy to defraud, including Ng and Mak.

Six of them, excluding Ng, had already been given prison sentences ranging from 21 months to 32 months. As Ng had become a tainted witness, he was sentenced with the 12 other defendants yesterday.

District Judge Clement Lee Hing-nin said it was an extremely serious case of conspiracy to defraud, as the bridge was a huge construction project which connects three places.

The wrongdoing by the defendants happened over two years, dealing a serious blow to public confidence in the tests and accreditation, he said.

He said the government had to spend HK$58 million to retest the bridge to ease safety concerns.

Lee said their reasons of suppression from bosses or for convenience were not excuses for exculpation.

Lee said Ng Kai-yiu was a senior technician and his act of faking tests lasted over two years.

As he had also asked employees who joined the company at different times to fake the tests, Lee said the starting point of sentencing is a 44-month imprisonment.

Lee sentenced Ng to 22 months in jail after taking into consideration the fact that he provided substantial help to the court.

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