Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Ultimate Sick Leave

Hongkong Post's Central Post Office that is also open on Sundays
There are some employees who are clock watchers -- people who make sure they arrive and leave work exactly on time so that the company doesn't gain any extra effort of time from them.

And then there are those who try to get as much out of the company as they can. For example, when I worked in Beijing, the company allowed us two days of sick leave per month, one of my colleagues was "sick" two Fridays a month...

But perhaps Tang Lai-kit was the biggest scammer of us all -- but is now paying the price.

The 40-year-old Tang was sentenced to 26 months in jail for using fake doctor's notes to get 635 rest days over four years.

He also claimed HK$217,381 in sick leave allowance.

The judge felt Tang's motives were premeditated which is why he was given a long prison term.

And where did he work? He was a contract worker at Hongkong Post based in the Central post office.

He started these fake sick claims in 2009 when he used a counterfeit medical certificate to claim a day off.

And then Tang did injury his finger on the job and legitimately received three days off, but then he claimed to suffer from an anxiety disorder.

At the time he earned HK$335 a day for sorting and weighing mail as well as other manual work.

He must have thought it was such a good scam that he kept doing it and doing it and doing it... for 635 sick days.

Finally Hongkong Post became suspicious after Tang took so much sick leave. It's strange that no one alerted management about his "illness", but perhaps it speaks to the possibility that either the company was too bureaucratic to notice or he was not someone people noticed because he was a contract worker.

In any event the post office alerted the Medical Council which advised it to take the case to the authorities.

Then ICAC took up the case and launched an investigation and in Tang's flat in Wong Chuk Hang, officers found more than 900 blank doctors' notes with the names of Dr Lee Kuen and Dr Lam Tak-wa. They also found two fake doctors' stamps.

Tang admitted he bought the fake doctors' notes on Taobao, the Chinese version of eBay and then forged the signatures.

One wonders if the ICAC is going to follow up on those behind selling the fake doctor notes and who else has bought them.

But on the other hand the vast majority of Hong Kong people are so busy they don't even have time to take sick leave.

Other than Tang, we'd like to take this opportunity to salute the staff at Hongkong Post.

Those at Central post office are even working on Sundays, capitalizing on the opportunity to help mostly domestic workers on their only day off to mail packages back home, or other customers who don't have time during the week to send mail.

Only in Hong Kong.

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