A former headmaster of G.T. (Ellen Yeung) College in Hong Kong has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than HK$10 million (US$1.28 million) from the school through bogus cash reimbursements, according to a police source.
Nip Man, 43, is accused of abusing his position of authority to approve expense claims he allegedly made for establishing a school in mainland China.
He was detained by crime squad officers for theft in Tseung Kwan O on Wednesday last week before he was released on police bail pending further investigation. Nip, who left the school in May, is required to report back in mid-November.
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Police began investigating after receiving a report of embezzlement from the school in May. Staff carrying out an audit check had reported a series of unusual petty cash applications from the suspect.
“The investigation suggested that between September 2018 and April 2021, some cash reimbursements involving nearly HK$10.6 million had been made by the suspect,” the source said on Wednesday.
Nip was accused of using the establishment of a new school on the mainland as an excuse for embezzling funds, which he was said to have done by taking advantage of his position of authority to endorse the reimbursement applications.
The source said officers were told there was no such development proposal and the suspect was believed to have pocketed the money.
Staff also told police there was a policy in place limiting the allocation of all funds to Hong Kong schools only.
After a five-month investigation, police arrested Nip last Wednesday.
Without revealing the name of the school and the suspect, police told the Post that a report was made to the force in May saying that a member of staff was suspected of giving bogus reasons when applying for and receiving funds totalling about HK$10.6 million.
The force said a 43-year-old man had been arrested for theft in Tseung Kwan O last Wednesday and was granted police bail.
The Education Bureau said it would not make any comment as police were investigating.
School supervisor Desmond Lee Yu-tai told local media that the incident did not affect operations. “Our school affairs [go on] as usual. So far, income is good enough to cover all expenditures,” he said.
Founded in 1996, G.T. College started as a non-profit charitable primary school before opening up to secondary students under the direct subsidy scheme – private sector schools receiving government support. It was renamed as G.T. (Ellen Yeung) College in 2005 and has two campuses in Tseung Kwan O and Mong Kok.
This article Former Hong Kong headmaster arrested on suspicion of embezzlement over expense claims first appeared on South China Morning Post