Electrical and Mechanical Services Department officials arrested in corruption scandal over hospital equipment


10th July 2024 – (Hong Kong) According to sources, a significant corruption scandal has engulfed Hong Kong’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), with accusations of illicit commissions linked to sterilization equipment at various public hospitals. This case raises profound concerns over the integrity of services and maintenance of critical medical devices.

Sources indicate that multiple EMSD staff, including assistant inspectors and supervisors, are implicated. Allegations suggest these officials have been accepting kickbacks and gifts over extended periods. Some transactions reportedly involved fictitious orders, a practice known as “ghost commissions,” allowing individuals to line their pockets without oversight as purchases under HK$50,000 did not require higher approval.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has confirmed the arrest of eight individuals and is investigating over ten more in connection with this case. The sweep at the end of last month followed a tip-off about ongoing corruption within the EMSD, leading to multiple raids at the department’s headquarters and the homes and offices of those implicated.

The scandal particularly centres on the procurement processes for sterilizers, which are crucial in hospital settings for disinfecting medical tools. Investigations suggest that instead of following proper channels, EMSD personnel may have bypassed official suppliers for cheaper alternatives, potentially compromising equipment quality and patient safety. Sources claim these unofficial suppliers rewarded EMSD staff with substantial kickbacks and gifts, solidifying long-term corrupt relationships.

The ICAC spokesperson, while confirming ongoing investigations, stated that all detained individuals have been released on bail, with numerous others receiving police cautions. Given the sensitive nature of their roles, which directly impact public health, the allegations have prompted a reevaluation of procurement and oversight mechanisms within the department.