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McD’s Hong Kong chief goes on leave as bribery allegations are leveled

HONG KONG McDonald’s has refused to comment on Chinese media reports that Joseph Lau, managing director of the burger chain’s Hong Kong branch, has been arrested for allegedly receiving bribes from food distributors who supply the restaurants.

The Hong Kong office has said only that Lau is on leave from his job, according to Walt Riker, vice president of corporate media relations for McDonald’s Corp.

Speaking from the company’s Oak Brook, Ill., world headquarters, Riker would not say if McDonald’s suspended Lau or if he took leave voluntarily. Lau, a Hong Kong native, has been with McDonald’s since 1983 and helped to expand McDonald’s business on mainland China and manage the chain’s branch office in the Philippines. McDonald’s has more than 200 restaurants in Hong Kong.

Reports in several Chinese-language newspapers, which were later picked up by English-language wire services, said Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption last week arrested 27 people for alleged bribery involving restaurant food suppliers. A list of those arrested was not made available, but a Dow Jones report quoted the ICAC as saying that no charges have been filed against Lau.

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