A senior Hong Kong police officer has been jailed for 6½ years for fraudulently obtaining mortgages in excess of HK$26 million (US$3.32 million) after claiming to be employed by an ex-colleague and concealing his affiliation with the force.

Deputy District Judge Edward Wong Ching-yu on Friday accepted the defence argument that Superintendent Harbour Chan Hoi-kong, 53, had “made a contribution to society” over his nearly three decades of service, opting to reduce his sentence by six months.

Wong had initially set the starting point for each of the two counts of fraud at 3½ and six years given the large amount of money involved when he supplied false documents to the Bank of East Asia and OCBC Wing Hang Credit to secure two mortgages between May and December 2019.

Co-defendant Wong Ho-ngai, a former chief inspector who met Chan in police college in the 1990s, also received a five-year jail term over his involvement in transferring HK$245,000 in “salary” – which should have been labelled as dividends – into his colleague’s account for several months to assist with a mortgage application.

The court heard that Chan submitted the applications to the bank and credit firm to obtain mortgages for a luxury house at Seaview Villas in Tai Po and a flat at Coastal Skyline in Tung Chung, using salary receipts provided from Wong instead of those he received from the force.

Chan had claimed he worked in the private sector and made between HK$115,000 and HK$246,500 per month between July and December 2019. But in fact, Chan was earning about HK$150,000 in monthly salary in his role as superintendent at the time.

The court noted there was no evidence that suggested the bank had suffered losses because of the fraud, as Chan had made mortgage repayments on time.

The judge was told that Chan had suffered depression since 2011 and was required to receive treatment and counselling in the following years. The court also heard he had suicidal thoughts after being arrested in 2021 and going to trial over the case.

Judge Wong said Chan’s contribution to society was reflected in his years of charitable activities, dating back to as early as his youth when he joined a junior police programme and took part in related initiatives.

Wong also quoted the defence’s mitigation that highlighted Chan had endeavoured to defend the reputation of police during the 2019 social unrest, when officers came under fire over the level of force used against protesters.

The court previously heard that Chan was active on some social media platforms such as mainland China’s Weibo, where he enjoyed the attention from other users who closely followed his comments on social issues.

Wong added that Chan was likely to lose his long-service pension after he was convicted.

Apart from receiving a separate three-month reduction to his sentence to reflect his good character, Chan would not receive a further discount as he had been convicted after trial, the judge said.

He ordered a year of the jail term from the second fraud charge to run consecutively to the 5½-year sentence handed down for the first count.