IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1090 OF 2008
Before: H H Judge S. D’Almada Remedios
Date: 22 January 2009 at 12.03 pm
Offence: Attempted burglary (企圖入屋犯法罪)
Reasons for Sentence
1. Defendant, you have pleaded guilty to an offence of attempted burglary, contrary to section 11(1)(a) and (4) of the Theft Ordinance.
2. You have admitted that on 11 July 2008 in Hong Kong you attempted to enter as a trespasser part of a building known as Room 1611,Shin Mei House, Fu Shin Estate, Tai Po, New Territories, with intent to steal therein.
3. On 11 July 2008 at about 3.15 pm, while PW1, Mr Fok, was in his home at Room 1611 he heard prising sounds emanating from the irongrille of his home. He peeped through the peephole of the door and saw a male wearing a white cap and a mask, who was later knownto be you, attempting to prise open the iron grille of his house. He immediately made a report to the police.
4. At 3.23 pm a police officer arrived on the 16th floor of Shin Mei House. He saw you wearing a pair of gloves and holding a spannerat the corridor near Room 1611. As he was approaching you, you ran downstairs. He disclosed his police identity and chased afteryou. He chased you and eventually caught up with you on the 10th floor. In the meantime you had dropped the spanner on the 13thfloor.
5. He arrested you for attempted burglary, and under caution you admitted, “Sir, I committed burglary because I owed people. Giveme a chance.”
6. PW1, Mr Fok, found the keyhole cover on the iron grille had been damaged, and other than that, he did not suffer any loss in theoffence.
7. In the shoulder bag you were carrying a screwdriver, a pair of gloves, a pair of pliers, a 6.5 centimetre long nail, a T-shirt andtwo masks were found by police officers.
8. The damaged keyhole cover and screwdriver found in your shoulder bag were sent to the Government Laboratory for forensic tool markcomparison examination. The forensic scientist confirmed control marks by the screwdriver were found to agree with one set of parallelstriation marks at the back of the keyhole cover in a fine striation pattern.
9. During a subsequent cautioned interview you admitted you attempted to burgle the room to steal money because you had incurred adebt of $15,000 from soccer gambling. You had left home with the burglary tools to look for target premises. You arrived at ShinMei House and went up to the 16th floor. You knocked on the door of Room 1611 to confirm that nobody was inside before using yourscrewdriver and spanner to prise open the iron grille. However, you failed to prise open the iron grille. As you intended to leavePW2 appeared, so you ran downstairs to flee. You discarded the spanner during your flight. At the time of prising the iron grilleyou were wearing a pair of gloves, a mask and a white cap.
10. Your solicitor, Mr Yeung, has made full mitigation on your behalf and I have taken into account what he has had to say.
11. You are 25 years of age, single, and have a clear record. You have completed education up to Form 5, and up until yesterday youcontinued to work as a warehouse worker, earning $7,500 a month and contributing $3,500 to the family, but resigned due to this offencetoday.
12. In mid-2008 you had lost $15,000 on soccer betting and you had owed the bookmaker money which you were unable to pay. The bookmakerwas chasing you and demanded you for the money and, in the end, was demanding you in a threatening manner and said if you did notpay he would ask your parents to pay. Mr Yeung has said this put you out of control of yourself and you did something out of impulse,that is you attempted to burgle these premises. You, in fact, did not know how to open the grille and were unable to do so and yougave up the venture there and then. You eventually got your family to repay the bookmaker and you understand that burglary is aserious offence.
13. Mr Yeung has also said this attempted burglary was in the day time, you have shown genuine remorse, and he understands that thisis attempted burglary of a domestic premises.
14. The guidelines clearly set down by the Court of Appeal for burglary or attempted burglary of domestic premises is one of 3 years’imprisonment after trial. This clearly reflects what a serious offence burglary is.
15. Mr Yeung had in mitigation asked this court to call for a Community Service Order report and/or a Detention Centre report.
16. As for a Detention Centre report, you are now 25 years of age and are no longer eligible for Detention Centre. As for the CommunityService Order report, this, as I mentioned, is a very serious offence and it has been laid down that Community Service for offencesof burglary is an inappropriate sentence.
17. In this case, defendant, you had in fact gone along to these domestic premises clearly well-prepared and it was a pre-meditatedact. You had taken masks and tools with you knowing that you were going to burgle premises.
18. I accept fully that, given your clear record, that it was out of character and this is your first offence. This, however, willbe reflected in the reduction in the sentence, to which I will take a starting point of 3 years. Given your plea of guilty and yourgenuine remorse, I sentence you to 2 years’ imprisonment. You are so sentenced.