Chan Chi-kin


Before: Deputy District Judge Woodcock

Date: 16 December 2011 at 3.43 pm

Present: Miss Noella A Chit, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Ronald Mayne, instructed by Messrs Tang Tso & Lau, assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Defendant

Offence: (1) Blackmail (勒索罪)
(2) Claiming to be a member of a triad society (聲稱是三合會社團的成員)


Reasons for Sentence


1. I found the defendant guilty after trial of one charge of blackmail and one charge of claiming to be a member of a triad society.

2. I do not intend to repeat the facts of the case, I have given full detail in my verdict. To paraphrase, it is a triad trying toextort protection fee from a bar owner in Tsuen Wan area. Offences of this nature, in particular, Charge 1, are very serious, anda term of imprisonment is unavoidable and appropriate.

3. Defendant is 31 years old, married but in the process of a divorce with young children. I have heard full mitigation includinghis employment background and his family background.

4. He has 7 previous convictions, none are similar to either blackmail or triad-related offences.

5. What is relevant for sentence would be the facts of this case. I accept that the defendant at that time was acting alone; whenhe made the demand, that was a one-on-one conversation. I have also taken into account what the demand was, a demand for $3,000and beers.

6. I have looked at two authorities, in particular, to assist me in sentence. One being HKSAR v Tam Yun Chuen, CACC118/2008, where a defendant and 4 other men entered a massage parlour claiming to be members of 14K and demanding several thousanddollars a month. The Court of Appeal upheld a 4-year sentence.

7. I have also considered the authority of Wong Fu Wa [1991] HKC 363 where the Court of Appeal said very clearly the sort of threats which are made, either implicitly or explicitly, cause fear and disquietto victims. The courts must demonstrate to offenders that this type of activity will not be tolerated. In that authority, likewise,a bar was targeted by triads looking for monthly protection fee, and in that authority the Court of Appeal upheld a 4-year startingpoint.

8. I have considered mitigation I have heard today and considered the facts of this case. And, as I have said, I take into accountwhat is relevant, that being it was a one-on-one demand. The defendant did not go in with a group to back him up, nor was thereany disturbance prior to this demand.

9. For Charge 1, I will consider appropriate a 3-year starting point to reflect the gravity of the offence. For Charge 2, I take astarting point of one year. I see no reason for any further discount. For Charge 1, I impose a 3-year term of imprisonment; Charge2, a one-year term of imprisonment. Both charges to be served concurrently, that is, a total of 3 years’ imprisonment.

A. J. Woodcock
Deputy District Judge

Please refer to CACC542/2011 for the relevant appeal(s) to the Court of Appeal.