Two former laboratory technicians were sentenced to jail for falsifying test records for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge, bringing the total of people imprisoned over the scandal to five.
Poon Ka-wai, 26, and Chiu Chi-hing, 27, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to defraud at the District Court. Judge Clement Lee on Friday sentenced Poon and Chiu to 21 and 23 months in jail respectively.
Last November, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) charged 19 former laboratory staff at Jacobs China Limited, a contractor of the Civil Engineering and Development Department, for their alleged roles in producing false concrete compression tests.
The court heard that, from 2013 to 2016, Poon and Chiu dishonestly altered the computer data of concrete compression tests, including the time and date.
On some occasions, the test samples were switched out to hide that the original samples could not withstand pressure, the court also heard.
Judge Lee said that the scandal affected the public’s confidence in the construction industry, and cost the government over HK$58 million to conduct remedial tests. Lee added that, for cases of falsification, “once was too many.”
The judge reduced the sentences of both Poon and Chiu as they had shown remorse and had clean records.
The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge – with a price tag of over HK$120 billion – opened last Wednesday eight years after construction began. The project has been plagued by over-spending, delays, deadly accidents involving workers, instances of hacking, and falsified test results.
Trials for the other defendants will be held on January 8.