Bureaucrat applied for job at anti-corruption agency with a fake degree…it didn’t end well

Last week, a woman was convicted for faking her legal qualifications to become a lawyer.

Now, a man has admitted forging a degree and applying for a job at Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

The ICAC, unsurprisingly, was having none of it, and, after a complaint, brought a case against Poon Hoi-kan, 41, related to his fake degree and several jobs he obtained by using it over a period of nine years.

Poon’s now in a bit of a pickle.

Firstly, he’s had to pay restitution of HK$1.1 million (US$140,000) to the government for wages earned while working in public roles he landed with the forged degree.

According to an ICAC statement, defendant started a bachelor’s degree course at a university in Australia in February 1999.  

He, however, didn’t finish the court and, thus, didn’t get a graduation certificate, well at least not from the university.

The court heard that, while working as a general clerk in the teacher registration section of what was then the Education and Manpower Bureau between 2002 and 2004, he was tasked with handling academic certificates submitted by teachers.

Opportunity.

According to the ICAC, while in this role, the defendant obtained a photocopy of a genuine graduation certificate of the bachelor’s degree issued by the same university he attended and replaced the name on it with his own.

He then continued his career as a bureaucrat, using the forged degree to apply for posts at the Student Financial Assistance Agency (SFAA), Home Affairs Department (HAD), and District Office roles in Yuen Long, Tsuen Wan and Sai Kung.

Then, in 2013, he applied for a job as an assistant clerical officer at the ICAC. As part of the process, the anti-corruption agency asked Poon to complete a normal checking form for processing his application, which he declined to do.

Poon pled guilty to four charges of using a copy of a false instrument and two counts of obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception.

Sentencing was set for September 19.

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