IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 563 OF 1999
(On appeal from NKCC 552 of 1999)
Coram: The Hon. Mr. Justice Yeung in Court
Date of Hearing: 18 August 1999
Date of Judgment: 18 August 1999
J U D G M E N T
1. The Appellant was charged with one count of blackmail and one count of theft, she was sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment and 1 month’simprisonment respectively and to run consecutively. She now appeals against the sentences.
2. The case arose out of a police operation targeting at a syndicate which preyed upon customers of prostitutes. The undercover policeofficer asked for the service of an escort through an advertisement in a magazine. In response, the Appellant went to the hotel onthe pretext of providing such service. The undercover police officer asked for a change of girl. The Appellant then made a call toa man who over the phone said to the officer that unless he paid $5,000.00, he would be beaten up. The Appellant herself took upthe threat that unless the officer agreed to pay $2,000.00, she would call her friends to beat up the officer until he died. Sheeventually left with the $2,000.00 taken from the undercover police officer.
3. The Appellant claimed to have been instructed to do what she did. That may very well be the case. But the offences, in the lightof the background, in my view, are extremely serious. It was clearly a syndicated offence targeting at people who could be describedas extremely vulnerable. It was also a very well-planned crime in that the offences involved putting up advertisement in order tolure potential victims.
4. Such offences, in my view, must be deterred.
5. The learned magistrate may not be entirely correct in saying that the blackmail charge would attract a sentence of 18 months to 3years’ imprisonment. It is also fair to say that sentence for this type of offence should reflect the factual background of eachindividual case. But I am firmly of the view that despite the Appellant pleading guilty to the charges, despite of her not havinga similar previous conviction and the other mitigating factors, the 10 months’ imprisonment is not a day too long for the offencesin question.
6. There is no merit in this appeal against sentence and this appeal is dismissed.
Mr. John Hemmings instructed by Messrs. Jal. N. Karbhari & Co. for the Appellant
Mr. Joseph To, S.G.C. for Respondent