Over 30 personnel were arrested this Thursday over bribery charges involved in the construction of Hong Kong Airport’s third runway (the 3RS Project). The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of Hong Kong stated on Friday that the suspects involve senior executives from the Airport Authority Hong Kong to staff members of various contractors. Luxury watches, gold coins, and cash totalling of HKD 3.8million (approx. USD 500,000) were found among the officers’ homes.
Airport Executives Arrested
On Friday 19, the ICAC published a statement that they are pressing charges against Ricky Lee Wing Fai, 47, Principal Manager of the Airport Authority, and Ng Kai On, 65, director of Carol Engineering Limited, at this stage. Among the 30 arrested, 4 are Airport Authority staff with the remaining suspects as staff members of the main contractors, subcontractors, and other persons.
Operation Codename “Blizzard”
The investigation codenamed “Blizzard” was initiated when staff members of the Airport Authority launched a complaint against their executives for abusing their power in the 3RS Project.
Cash, Luxury Watches and Entertainment
The ICAC spokesperson suggested that the investigation concerned the awarding of works and material supplies contracts, as well as administrative and financial matters. An amount of HKD 900,000 was found as a bribe to secure supply contracts of sand as the landfill material.
Four Airport Authority employees had reportedly received multiple “entertainments” offered by contractors in nightclubs, restaurants, and other venues. However, the ICAC had not mentioned how the suspected bribery would affect the quality of the third runway in Hong Kong airport and stated that they would work in close liaison with the Airport Authority to continue the investigation.
The 3RS Project was part of the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) Master Plan 2030 initiated back in 2011 as an ongoing development operation to keep HKIA’s competitive edge as Asia’s aviation hub.
The construction of Hong Kong’s third runway began in 2016 despite major backlash concerning the pollution aroused by various environmental organisations. Earlier this year, the construction of the third runway was completed and the original northern runway was renamed the centre runway.
By 2024, it is expected that the Three-Runway System will be completed with automated passenger transport and baggage handling system. The final stage of the expansion is the T2 concourse and terminal 2 expansion which will complement the third runway to complete the system.
As the construction of the 3RS is still underway, the Airport Authority has not spoken about whether the remaining items in the master plan would be affected.
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