Police inspector Harbour Chan found guilty in HK$26 million bank fraud case

Harbour Chan

19th April 2024 – (Hong Kong) Harbour Chan Hoi-kong, a senior police inspector known as ‘Harbour Sir’, along with his former police colleague turned businessman, Wong Ho-ngai, have been convicted of defrauding two local banks out of HK$26 million in mortgage loans. The case, which concluded on 19th April in the District Court, has sent shockwaves through Hong Kong’s law enforcement community, highlighting a rare instance of high-ranking officers embroiled in financial deception.

The court heard that Chan and Wong, who had trained together as probationary inspectors in 1995, conspired to conceal Chan’s police identity while applying for substantial loans under the pretence that Chan was employed by a private company. These funds were intended to settle existing debts. Despite their denials, evidence presented in court led to the conviction of Chan on both counts of fraud, with Wong found guilty on one.

The deception began in July 2019 when Chan, through an estate agent, applied for a mortgage refinance at the Bank of East Asia for a property in Tai Po. He misrepresented himself as the General Manager of Commander Capital Company Limited, not disclosing his police status, subsequently securing a loan of HK$21.54 million. This sum was used to pay off the property’s existing mortgage and legal fees, with the remainder deposited into Chan’s bank account.

A similar pattern followed with a property in Tung Chung, where Chan applied for a mortgage from OCBC Wing Hang Bank again under the guise of his role at Commander Capital Company Limited. This application was bolstered by an employment verification letter and a cheque, purportedly from Commander Capital Company Limited, signed by Wong indicating a salary payment. The finance company later granted Chan and his brother a mortgage cash-out of HK$4.8 million, which was partly used to repay another debt.

Chan’s arrest on 25th May, 2021, followed an investigation that revealed his actual stake in the company and the fact that what was claimed to be his salary was, in reality, his quarterly dividend. Chan had contended that the loan applications were handled by others and that he was unaware of the specifics. He claimed he had instructed Wong not to list his bonuses as ‘salary’ on transaction memos, a request allegedly unheeded due to Wong’s lack of computer proficiency.