IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1266 OF 2008
Before: H H Judge Whaley
Date: 4 May 2009 at 3.11 pm
Offence: Going equipped for stealing, etc. (外出時備有偷竊用的物品等罪項)
Reasons for Sentence
1. The defendant has been convicted on his plea of one charge of going equipped for stealing and a further charge of remaining unlawfullyin Hong Kong without the authority of the Director of Immigration, both committed on 18 November last year in Sai Kung.
2. In the small hours of 18 November last year, patrolling police officers saw the defendant climbing down from the main gate of a floriculturalcentre in Sai Kung. He was wearing gloves, and on being searched, another pair of gloves, a paring knife, a pair of scissors anda torch were found in his pockets. He was arrested, and under caution, he said, “I went inside to find food and sleep only. Ihad already got out once I found nothing.”
3. I note that the defendant refused to sign the notebook record of that statement, and that in a subsequent interview with the police,he denied that he had entered the floricultural centre, claimed he was being framed up by the police officers.
4. In a letter to the court, the defendant claims that his house was destroyed in the earthquake last year in Sichuan, times were hardand the only way he could think of to make money was to come to Hong Kong and find employment.
5. I note that he has three previous convictions for illegally remaining in Hong Kong in 2000, 2002 and December 2007 and also a previousconviction for assaulting a police officer. I note from the photographs which have been handed in that the so-called paring knifewas indeed no more than an instrument for the likes of peeling fruit, and the scissors were only some 9 centimetres in length.
6. In all the circumstances, on the 1st charge, I adopt a starting point of 9 months’ imprisonment, and in return for his plea ofguilty and such co-operation as he has given the authorities, he is entitled to the full one-third discount which discounts the startingpoint to 6 months’ imprisonment. That is the sentence that I impose on the 1st charge.
7. In respect of the 2nd charge, the well-established tariff is a sentence of 15 months’ imprisonment after plea for illegally remainingin Hong Kong. In all the circumstances of this case, I will not enhance that starting point on the basis of his three previous convictionsfor the identical offence, and I impose a sentence of 15 months’ imprisonment on the 2nd charge, to be consecutive to the sentenceon the 1st charge.
8. So the total sentence he faces on both charges is 21 months’ imprisonment.