Construction Lab Technician admits faking test results on mega bridge project
The 55km Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and tunnel project started in 2011 and will link the three major cities of Zhuhai in mainland China, with Hong Kong and Macau.
The project has been plagued by 270 accidents, 10 deaths, 600 injuries, extensive delays and a spiralling budget that has now reached US$15 billion. The latest scandal revolves around a laboratory testing technicians who had admitted to faking concrete testing results for the bridge project over a three year period.
Site laboratory technician, Wong Kwok-yiu, plead guilty last Friday to two counts of using fake test results to concoct test reports, between 2012 and 2015.
The Tuen Mun Court in Hong Kong was told by the defendant’s lawyer that the 61-year-old man had cheated out of sheer laziness, compounded by the fear he would be reprimanded for his past mistakes and that there was no bribery involved. He also assured the court that the concrete cubes tested had met the required standard.
A testing laboratory was set up by the Hong Kong’s Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) to conduct materials testing, with the work overseen by the Highways Department and the actual work contracted to Jacobs China Limited, who employed the technician.
Wong Kwok-Yiu was employed to work at the Public Works Regional Laboratory in Siu Ho Wan, where he was responsible for conducting compaction and compression tests on concrete cube samples taken from concrete pours on the project to assure quality control standards of the concrete and that they met the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme’s standards.
Wong’s problems started when he made one single mistake inputting an incorrect measurement causing an inaccurate calculation. Instead of reporting the error, he covered up the error by using another sample cube to get new results that were submitted to the engineer, so accredited reports could be issued. Wong claims he carried on this practice over a 3-year period, out of laziness.
The consequences of Wong’s actions mean that no reliable test results exist for the strength and quality of the concrete used on those sections of the project tested by Wong, which on a large bridge and tunnel project could have severe consequences.
The case has been adjourned until 1 December 2017 for sentencing.
18 others face conspiracy charges relating to the fraud and will appear in the District Court on 7 December 2017.