Webb-site notes with interest the announcement on 18-Jul-2013 by noodle restaurant chain Ajisen (China) Holdings Ltd (Ajisen, 0538) of its new Chief Operations Officer, Joseph Lau Si Sing (Mr Lau). Conspicuously missing was any mention of the fact that Mr Lau was jailed in 2009 for corruption as Managing Director of McDonald's Restaurants (Hong Kong) Ltd. The media quickly picked up on this omission, and the next day, Ajisen admitted in a second announcement that it knew about the convictions but still considered him the right person for the job based on his experience.
The first announcement also stated:
"Mr. Lau, aged 53, was graduated from California Institute of Technology."
Wow, that is impressive - CalTech is one of the USA's leading universities, specialising in math, science and engineering. That certainly weighs in his favour. Except, if you go back and read the reasons for sentence, then you will find the Judge, citing the pre-sentencing background report, said:
"The defendant was brought up under difficult circumstances. He received some tertiary education in the States, but he was unable to complete it."
So the court was told that Mr Lau didn't graduate from anywhere, let alone CalTech. It appears that Ajisen has either knowingly or recklessly made a false and misleading statement. Either that, or Mr Lau's background report (presumably based on his own evidence) was false. They can't both be true. Not only that, but the second announcement gives a false impression of the length of his sentence. Ajisen says:
"Mr Lau was convicted in April 2009...He was sentenced to an imprisonment term. He duly served his imprisonment term and was released around mid-2011".
The clear implication of that statment is that his sentence was around 2 years, from April 2009 to mid-2011. We consider that misleading. In fact, his sentence (after a 2-month reduction on appeal) was 4 years and 3 months. He was convicted on 15-Apr-2009, which means that his sentence, including parole, only expired on 15-Jul-2013, just 3 days before the announcement of his appointment at Ajisen. He was presumably released on probation after serving half his time, as is normal.
Ironically, the Judge in sentencing said:
"As a result of his convictions, it is doubtful he would be employed by McDonald’s or any other fast-food establishment. His hard work has all gone and he has to start all over again."
Yes. Just below board level at Ajisen, days after completing his sentence.