Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner announces imprisonment of person who made false statement

December 12, 2014 |

The Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner has announced that a former insurance agent has been sentenced to 4 weeks jail for making a false statement to the Privacy Commissioner.  As regulators go the Privacy Commissioner is quite active.

The media release provides:

A Person was sentenced to Imprisonment for Making False Statement to the Privacy Commissioner

(4 December 2014) A former insurance agent (the “Agent”) was charged with two counts of making a false statement to the Privacy Commissioner under section 50B(1)(c)(i) of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (the “Ordinance”), one count of fraud under section 16A of the Theft Ordinance and five counts of using a false instrument under section 73 of Crimes Ordinance on 20 November 2014. The Agent pleaded guilty to the charges. Today, he is sentenced to 4 weeks’ imprisonment at the Tuen Mun Magistrates’ Court. Since the enforcement of the Ordinance in 1996, this is the first conviction for contravention of the Ordinance by misleading the Privacy Commissioner in discharging his statutory functions.

Case Background

The case stemmed from a complaint received by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (“PCPD”) in October 2012. The complainant was a customer of an insurance company (“Company A”). The Agent first approached the complainant while he was working for Company A. Later the complainant was persuaded by the Agent to buy a new insurance policy (the “New Policy”). The complainant subsequently found that the Agent had already resigned from Company A and the New Policy was actually issued by another insurance company. The complainant alleged that the Agent had misled her that Company A was the New Policy’s insurer and thereby obtained her personal data by unfair means.

In response to PCPD’s enquiries, the Agent claimed that he was assigned to serve the complainant during his employment with Company A. However, Company A denied the Agent’s claim.

As the Agent had provided the PCPD with false information, the case was referred to the Police for criminal investigation. The Police’s investigation also unearthed that some of the signatures on the insurance documents were not signed by the complainant at all.

PCPD’s Comments

Under section 50B(1)(c)(i) of the Ordinance, anyone who makes to the Privacy Commissioner a statement which the person knows to be false, or knowingly misleads the Privacy Commissioner commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of HK$10,000 and imprisonment of 6 months. The PCPD reminds all organisations and individuals to abide by the law and treat personal data privacy seriously. Parties involved in a complaint should cooperate and be truthful in responding to PCPD’s enquiries.

One Response to “Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner announces imprisonment of person who made false statement”

  1. Hong Privacy Commissioner announces imprisonment of person who made false statement | Australian Law Blogs

    […] Hong Privacy Commissioner announces imprisonment of person who made false statement […]

Leave a Reply