Former HK home affairs minister suspended from medical practitioners register over US conviction in multimillion-dollar bribery plot

12-May-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Former Hong Kong home affairs minister Patrick Ho Chi-ping has been removed from the city’s register of medical practitioners for 12 months as a result of his conviction in the United States over a multimillion-dollar bribery plot involving African leaders.

The decision followed a disciplinary hearing at the Medical Council of Hong Kong on Tuesday morning that was held without the presence of the 71-year-old ophthalmologist-turned-politician.

Ho was sentenced to 36 months in jail and fined $400,000 (HK$3.1 million) in March of 2019, after a US federal court jury found him guilty on five counts of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and two of money laundering.

Former Hong Kong home affairs minister Patrick Ho leaves AsiaWorld-Expo after a coronavirus test upon his return to the city last June. Photo: May Tse

Former Hong Kong home affairs minister Patrick Ho leaves AsiaWorld-Expo after a coronavirus test upon his return to the city last June. Photo: May Tse

He returned to Hong Kong last June upon finishing his sentence in the US.

“Taking into consideration everything in the round, including but not limited to the nature and gravity of the criminal convictions, we order… the name of the defendant be removed from the general Register for a period of 12 months,” said Professor Grace Tang Wai-king, who chaired the inquiry panel.

An eye surgeon and former ophthalmology professor at Chinese University, Ho had been included in the city’s medical practitioner register since January of 1980.

He was found to have violated Section 29.1 of the council’s Code of Professional Conduct for registered medical practitioners, which requires doctors who have been convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment to report the matter to the Council within 28 days of the conviction.

In addition to the suspension, Ho will also be issued a warning letter regarding the violation of the code of conduct.

“Given the nature and gravity of the criminal offences to which his convictions relate, we find it inexcusable for the defendant not to report them to the council within the prescribed time limit,” Tang said during the hearing.

“The defendant’s conduct in this regard has fallen below the standards expected of registered medical practitioners in Hong Kong.”

The inquiry panel had decided to proceed with Tuesday’s hearing in spite of Ho’s absence, as it found he had deliberately decided not to appear even though he was aware of the proceedings.

Ho entered politics in 1993, when he was appointed a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. In 2002, he was named head of home affairs for the Hong Kong government, a capacity in which he served until 2007.

After his career in public service, he became the deputy secretary general of a think tank funded by the Shanghai-based oil conglomerate CEFC China Energy.

He was arrested at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York in November 2017, and was subsequently tried for offering $2.9 million in bribes to the late Chadian president Idriss Deby, one-time Senegalese diplomat Cheikh Gadio and current Ugandan foreign minister Sam Kutesa in exchange for oil rights for CEFC.

After his conviction in 2019, Ho lodged an appeal, but it was dismissed on December 29, 2020.

The Medical Council disciplinary panel said Ho had informed them through his former solicitors that he had lodged a further appeal in the US, but the outcome was still pending.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3133049/former-hong-kong-home-affairs-minister-suspended-medical

 

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