29-year-old former police officer sentenced to 10 days in jail for violating community service order

So Ching-fung

7th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) Former police officer, So Ching-fung, aged 29, has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for violating a community service order. So had previously admitted to illegally betting on football matches and baccarat with over HKD 320,000 from illegal gambling operators. He was originally sentenced to 120 hours of community service in June last year, but subsequent tardiness and warning letters led to his being accused of breaching the order. The case was heard in Sha Tin Magistrates’ Courts on today.

After hearing the arguments, the judge believed that So would not complete the remaining hours of community service, and that a fine was not appropriate. As a result, the community service sentence was revoked, and he was sentenced to 10 days in jail with a probation period of 12 months.

According to the defence, So, who graduated from the Police College, is currently working as a chef with a monthly income of around HK$15,000. He is married with two daughters aged 6 and 1, and his wife is currently pregnant and unemployed. So personally wrote a letter of remorse to the court. The defence argued that there were only 27 hours of community service left to complete, and if he were to be re-sentenced, the previous hours would be wasted. Therefore, they requested a fine and the completion of the remaining hours of community service.

However, the judge rejected the defence’s request and opted for a jail sentence, citing the severity of the offence and the need for deterrence.

Last year, So admitted to violating Section 8 of the Gambling Ordinance by betting on football matches and baccarat with a gambling operator from 13th August to 27th October, 2021. He transferred over HK$320,000 to the operator’s designated bank account in over 200 transactions during that period. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigated the case after receiving a corruption complaint, and the Department of Justice subsequently prosecuted So.

This case highlights the seriousness of illegal gambling activities and the need for strict enforcement of gambling laws by law enforcement agencies. The court’s decision to revoke the community service order and impose a jail sentence sends a strong message to the public that such illegal activities will not be tolerated.