Case Commentary

Hong Kong Criminal Law — Hectar Pun S.C. Secures Acquittal for Defendant in Agent Acceptance of Advantage Case

Hectar Pun S.C. (leading Ferrida Chan) secured acquittal for the Defendant charged with three charges of agent accepting an advantage totalling around HK$380,000, contrary to section 9(1) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (Cap 201).

The Defendant is a Senior District Director and a top insurance agent of a leading international insurance company. The Prosecution alleged that, at the material time, the Defendant accepted advantages from her down-line insurance agents as an inducement to or reward for the Defendant in assisting them in securing customers to purchase insurance policies with the insurance company.

The learned judge acquitted the Defendant of all the three charges on the ground that the charged act is not an act in relation to the principal’s affairs or business, in that her act and acceptance of advantage did not conflict with the insurance company’s interests. The learned judge cited the Court of Final Appeal’s decision in Secretary for Justice v Chan Chi Wan Stephen (2017) 20 HKCFAR 98 that it is not the legislative intent to stigmatise as criminal, conduct of an agent which is beneficial to and congruent with the interests of the principal.

The trial judge also held that the Defendant has successfully proved on a balance of probabilities the statutory defence that she had the principal’s permission under sections 9(4)-(5) of the Ordinance, and further held that the Defendant had lawful authority and reasonable excuse in accepting the advantages.

View the Reasons for Judgment here.


Hectar Pun, SC

“Hectar always delivers high-quality advice in a short amount of time. He conducts clear and concise advocacy, thinks quickly on his feet, and can always answer questions from the bench impressively.” — Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2024, Administrative and Public Law: Leading Silks

Hectar’s practice spans many areas including constitutional and administrative law, human rights law, immigration law, criminal law, land law, company law and commercial law. He appears regularly on behalf of applicants in major judicial review proceedings. He is ranked in Chambers and Partners as well as The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2023 as a “Leading Silk” in Administrative and Constitutional Law.

Hectar has acted for the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, legislative councillors, district councillors, demonstrators, police officers, prisoners, refugees and asylum seekers, tenants of public housing estates, homosexuals, transsexuals, the disabled and the underprivileged, etc.

Visit Hectar’s profile for more details.


This article was first published on 6 February 2024.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice and seeks to set out the general principles of the law. Detailed advice should therefore be sought from a legal professional relating to the individual merits and facts of a particular case. The photographs which appear in this article are included for decorative purposes only and should not be taken as a depiction of any matter to which the case is related. The views and opinions expressed in this article/material are solely those of the members authoring it and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Denis Chang’s Chambers, or of any other member or members of Denis Chang’s Chambers.