HKSAR v. KWOK CHI TUNG

DCCC254/2010

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONGSPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 254 OF 2010

———————-

HKSAR
v.
Kwok Chi-tung

———————-

Before:

H H Judge Longley

Date:

10 May 2010 at 10.32 am

Present:

Ms Irene Fan, SPP (Acting), of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Sit Hoi-wah, Kenneth, of Messrs Kenneth Sit & Co., assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Defendant

Offence:

Dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence
(處理已知道或相信為代表從可公訴罪行的得益的財產)

———————

Reasons for Sentence

———————

1. Kwok Chi-tung, you have been convicted on your own plea of an offence of dealing with property known or believed to represent theproceeds of an indictable offence, contrary to section 25(1) and (3) of the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance.

2. On 18 November 2005, you opened a bank account in your own name with the Standard Chartered Bank. In the application form you statedthat you were a crane operator and lived in a public housing estate. Between that date, 18 November 2005, and 29 September 2008,a period of 2 years and 10 months, a total of 8,179 deposits were made into that account, totalling $8,536,417.

3. Your explanation when interviewed was that you had been in debt to a loanshark and could not afford to make repayment. I have beentold by Mr Sit on the previous occasion the debt was $2,000 and that you had to pay $150 a day in interest. Mr Sit says that youwere unemployed at the time. You said that the loanshark had offered to waive that debt and give you a further $1,000 if you wouldopen an account for him to use. You said that after opening the account you had passed the cash withdrawal card and the savings passbookto the loanshark.

4. Even if, as Mr Sit has submitted on your behalf and I am prepared to accept, you had no knowledge of exactly how much money wasbeing paid into your account or withdrawn, you can have been in no doubt that your account would be used to receive money, and, inthe circumstances described by you, you would have reasonable grounds to believe that the money would be the proceeds of loansharking.

5. The sum of money that went through your account was huge and it went on for a period of almost 3 years. It is a factor of limitedmitigation to maintain that you yourself did not know exactly how much was going through the account. You knew it was being usedby a loanshark. It was your account. You were in a position at any time during that period to go to the bank and find out what youraccount was being used for. You chose not to do so. The $2,000 debt that you owed the loanshark provides little mitigation for thisoffence.

6. The courts are bound to take a serious view of this sort of offence. Loansharking is a serious social evil. It preys on the vulnerabilityof others and brings misery to its victim. Loansharks are hardly likely to allow their own accounts to be used for their evil activities.When others allow their accounts to be used for this purpose they are contributing to a perpetuation of this evil.

7. On the facts of this case, I am adopting a starting point of 2½ years’ imprisonment. I have read the helpful reports from DrYuen and Miss Cheng. I have taken into account the following factors. Firstly, the fact that you suffer from a bipolar affectivedisorder but that you do not currently need in‑patient treatment; I also take into account that to a minor extent you were yourselfthe victim of loansharking. But most importantly, I take into account the fact that you are a man who apart from a minor unrelatedoffence 16 years ago has not been before the courts before and has now pleaded guilty and admitted your involvement in this offence.

8. I reflect these mitigating circumstances by discounting the starting point by one year to arrive at a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment.That is the sentence I pass, 18 months’ imprisonment.

9. I would like it to be drawn to the attention of the Commissioner of Correctional Services that Dr Yuen has recommended that youneed regular psychiatric follow-up to prevent a relapse of your disorder.

P.K.M Longley
District Judge