Former correctional officer sentenced to community service for soliciting a cigarette on behalf of an inmate

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File photo.

28th November 2023 – (Hong Kong) A former officer has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service for a serious breach of prudence and professional conduct. 33-year-old Choi Ping-sun was charged with misconduct in public office, allowing an inmate to access confidential information on his department-issued tablet, and facilitating the solicitation of a cigarette from another inmate.

Choi Ping-sun appeared before Magistrate Winnie Wat Lai-man in the Eastern Court on Tuesday to receive his sentencing. Prior to this, he had entered a guilty plea to the count of misconduct while serving in a public role.

The court was informed that at the time of the offence, Choi held the position of Assistant Officer II within the Correctional Services Department. He was stationed at the Tai Tam Gap Correctional Institution, a facility known for its rigour and discipline.

On the first of May in 2022, Choi permitted prisoner Sandeep Singh to peruse confidential records on his tablet, a breach that allowed Singh to track down another inmate within the facility. Further, Choi acceded to Singh’s request for a cigarette, soliciting it from the inmate located via the tablet and delivering it to Singh.

In mitigation, the defence argued that the incident was a one-off situation and that Choi had merely assisted with the procurement of a cigarette. They emphasised Choi’s resignation from his position in the wake of the incident, suggesting that a repetition of such an offence was highly unlikely. The defence team implored the court to consider a community service order, as supported by a submitted report.

Taking into account the favourable report on Choi and his previously unblemished record, Magistrate Wat decided to treat the incident as isolated. She underscored the importance of following the stringent rules within correctional facilities and sentenced Choi to a 200-hour community service order.