HKSAR v. CHU VAN TUAN

DCCC182/2009

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 182 OF 2009

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HKSAR
v.
Chu Van Tuan
(also known as Chiu Man-chun)

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Before: H H Judge Browne

Date: 25 March 2009 at 10.27 am

Present:

Mr William Siu, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Yiu Kwai-hung, of Messrs K H Yiu & Associates, assigned by the Legal Aid Department, for the Defendant

Offence: Theft (盜竊罪)

Reasons for Sentence

1. The Defendant pleaded guilty to a charge of theft. The particulars of the offence are that on 21 January just outside the Tung ChauStreet playground in Shamshuipo, he stole an identity card, wallet and $168 in cash, the property of Cheung Yun-tai.

2. On 21 January, at 10.25 in the morning, the victim in this case, who is 62 years of age, was walking outside the Tung Chau playgroundwhen she felt her bag being tampered with. The bag is what is commonly known as a “recycled bag”, which is used for shopping. It has got no zips on the top. She turned around and saw the defendant and grabbed hold of his hand. She saw the defendant withher wallet in his hand, and when he noticed that he had been spotted, he immediately discarded the wallet and fled.

3. PW1’s actions in grabbing hold of the defendant were witnessed by some police officers nearby, and the defendant was arrested. Thedefendant was cautioned and under caution had nothing to say.

4. The defendant has 19 previous convictions. Most of them are for theft.

5. The defendant is 39 years of age and comes from Vietnam. He was educated to primary school level and was last released from prisonin March of last year. He lives in a unit in Kowloon. And I am told that notwithstanding his previous record, he was determinedto stay out of trouble after his last prison sentence. I was told that his sister died in Vietnam and he wanted to return to Vietnamand that was the motive for committing the offence: he wanted to raise money to return there.

6. The defendant is a professional pickpocket. Arrest and prosecution are hazards of his profession. No matter what sentence the courtimposes, he is going to go back to that habit. I find it rather sad that he preys on a 62 year-old woman.

7. Looking at all the various features of this offence, the fact that he is a professional pickpocket, he picks on somebody outsidea playground, little chance of detection had it not been for the police officers, I take a starting point of two years. The onlymitigation in this case is the guilty plea. I will reduce that sentence by one-third. The sentence you will serve is one of 16months’ imprisonment.

Browne
District Judge