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Former PCCW staff sentenced for leaking 4,700 customers' personal data

Former PCCW staff sentenced for leaking 4,700 customers' personal data

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Two of the three former employees of PCCW have been sentenced to six months' and six weeks' imprisonment respectively for soliciting and accepting bribes to disclose personal information and data of about 4,700 customers illegally obtained from the company's computer systems.

According to the official press statement, Lau Shing Yan, former team leader of PayTV department of PCCW, was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, while Kan Siu Kei, former sales supervisor of direct sales department of PCCW, was jailed for six weeks.

In sentencing, acting principal magistrate Veronica Heung Shuk-han said that Lau was the mastermind of the scam and that he obtained personal information and data of numerous customers through Kan and Lai. The offences involved were serious in nature, warranting a custodial sentence, Heung said.Lau and Kan earlier pleaded guilty to a total of four bribery charges – one of agent soliciting advantages and three of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages. 

Having considered Kan's guilty plea and other mitigating factors, Kan was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment. Lau and Kan earlier pleaded guilty to a total of four bribery charges – one of agent soliciting advantages and three of conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages, contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and Sections 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.

The offences took place between June 2017 and October 2018. At the material time, PCCW maintained two computer systems for safekeeping personal information and data of customers, including their names, HKID card numbers, phone numbers and addresses. Only designated PCCW staff were authorised to have access to the computer databases. Lau and Kan were assigned computers with the two computer systems installed. The court heard that Lau had solicited unknown sums of loans from a person, and accepted two bribes amounting to $13,000 from another person for him to peruse and search the computer systems of PCCW for the database and disclose to the two persons of nearly 3,800 customers obtained from the computer systems. 

After Lau was terminated by PCCW in July 2017 due to his unauthorised searches of the database, he asked Kan and Lai, junior marketing executive of payTV department of PCCW, to conduct searches at the computer systems and to disclose the database of over 900 customers to him. Kan and Lai in return respectively accepted bribes of $2,000 and $4,000 from Lau. Lai earlier pleaded guilty to his charges and was sentenced to three months' imprisonment in November 2022. 

The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Pursuant to legal advice sought from the Department of Justice upon completion of the investigation, Lau, Kan and Lai were charged with multiple counts of bribery and obtaining access to computers with dishonest intent for disclosing customers' particulars of about 4,700 customers. 

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