Three former Cathay Pacific flight attendants have been sentenced to six months in jail, after being found guilty of accepting more than HK$78,000 (US$10,000) in bribes in exchange for assisting travelers to receive concessionary air tickets reserved for airline employees.
Lau Ching-man, former purser, pled guilty on September 7, 2023 to three counts of conspiracy and was sentenced to six months in jail.
The two other defendants, former flight attendants Lee Chung-fai and Wong Oi-ting, were each sentenced to five months in prison for one count of the same charge.
The District Court of Hong Kong heard that, between 2018 and 2019, Lau Ching-man accepted bribes from a Vietnamese fashion designer in exchange for discounted air tickets, using the staff benefits under Cathay’s Companion Travel Scheme.
The airline’s Companion Travel Scheme allows its employees to nominate a partner, sibling, family member, or friend as a travel companion to be entitled to discounted tickets.
Airline staff are prohibited from receiving disbursements or payment for nominating others as travel companions.
The court also heard that Lau Ching-man, the purser, contacted the two flight attendants in order to name two friends of the fashion designer as their nominated travel companions.
The two flight attendants received about HK$39,000 ($5,000) and HK$27,000 ($3,500) respectively for the nominations.
Through this scheme, It is heard that the fashion designer bought 20 Cathay Pacific tickets for just HK$19,500, ($2,488), saving nearly HK$330,000 ($42,000).
Overall, the connivance caused Cathay Pacific to lose around HK$860,000 ($110,000) in revenue for a total of 49 flight tickets purchased at discounted rates.
In addition to their respective jail sentences, the District Judge ordered the three defendants to pay a total of around HK$90,000 ($12,000), the amount being equivalent to the bribes they received, to recompense the airline.