ICAC detains 8 EMSD staff, administers caution over 10, one reported dead after committing suicide

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10th July 2024 – (Hong Kong) A suspect in a corruption case involving Hong Kong’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) perished after falling into the sea at Tsing Yi South Bridge. This incident, which underscores the gravity of the ongoing investigation, occurred shortly after the city’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) escalated its probe into alleged graft within the department.

The ICAC confirmed last month that eight EMSD employees had been detained over suspicions of illicit activities related to procurement projects under HK$50,000 at public hospitals. These projects were supposed to adhere strictly to Hong Kong’s Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, yet investigators believe that corrupt practices may have compromised the integrity of these dealings.

Sources close to the matter disclosed that the deceased, a 49-year-old individual identified only by his surname, Chou, was involved in these investigations. He tragically drowned after an apparent suicide, a few days post the ICAC’s enforcement actions. The day of the incident, passersby spotted Chou struggling in the waters near the Tsing Yi Fireboat Fire Station and alerted the authorities. Despite rapid response from the Marine Police and firefighters, Chou was pronounced dead after being transported to Yan Chai Hospital.

The ICAC’s crackdown has reportedly extended to over 70 individuals, including EMSD staff and external parties, suggesting deep-rooted corruption involving kickbacks and potentially fabricated transactions in the procurement of sterilisation equipment for hospitals. The inquiries have revealed that instead of purchasing from exclusive agents, some employees favoured vendors from personal connections, sidestepping the required competitive bidding process.