Memory fails at urine-swap hearing

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A former correctional services commissioner hoped the urine-swapping incident in the Hei Ling Chau Addiction Treatment Centre could be handled internally, a court heard.

At Eastern Magistrates’ Court yesterday, defense counsel said Correctional Services Department officers were worried they could be next after two colleagues were arrested in November 2009 for swapping urine samples in a bid to raise the center’s success rate.
The counsel for the defense said former commissioner Kwok Leung-ming told a monthly staff meeting in January 2010 that he hoped the incident of switching urine samples could be handled within the department.

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But defendant Tang Kwai-man’s supervisor and senior correctional officer, Sin Wai-cheong, denied the suggestion.
Sin said he could not recall that meeting or say whether Kwok attended as as it happened a long time ago.
But Sin did admit the commissioner would sometimes attend monthly staff meetings.

The defense questioned Sin’s claims of forgetting about the meeting, saying the arrest of officers is a serious matter and the meeting was held only two months later.
The presence of the commissioner was not something to be forgotten easily either, he said.

The counsel also pointed out that all remaining officers carried out urine swapping and reported fake job rates of released addicts.

Meanwhile, department research chief officer Lam Che-leung said his staff had not been involved in illegal practices. WINNIE CHONG

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