IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 785 OF 2011
Reasons for Sentence
1. Defendant, you have been convicted of a charge of theft upon your guilty plea.
2. In sentencing I take into account the whole circumstances of the case, including its nature and facts; your personal backgroundand mitigation put forward on your behalf.
3. It is a pick-pocketing case. The facts of the case are straightforward and may be summarised as follows.
4. At about 8 o’clock in the morning in a market, you put your hand into the trousers pocket of the victim and took away his wallet. The place was at that time crowded with people. The victim was 82 years of age. The wallet contained his identity card, residentcard, senior citizen card, bank card and cash of about $1,500.
5. You were at once arrested. Under caution you admitted having stolen the wallet and said you did so because you were in need ofmoney.
6. I was told that you were 49 years old. You were married and have a son and a daughter. Your son is an adult. Unfortunately helost his ability to move as a result of an accident. Your daughter is a student. Though you were a construction site worker ona casual basis, the family has to receive CSSA.
7. You are not a first time offender. Indeed, you have an appalling criminal conviction record. On 27 previous convictions you havebeen convicted. You have been convicted for a total of 28 offences including 21 charges of theft or attempted theft, six of whichinvolved pick-pocketing. Your last conviction was for a pick-pocketing offence for which you were sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonmentand were discharged from prison on 21 June 2010.
8. I was also told you were a drug addict. This is also obvious from your criminal conviction record.
9. I have considered cases such as HKSAR v Ngo Van Huy, CACC107/2004, HKSAR v Duong Van Dung, CACC284/2004 and HKSAR v Chiu Suet Yee, CACC105/2010.
10. In all the circumstances of the present case, I see no reason not to follow the guidance provided by the Court of Appeal in thesecases.
11. Your counsel stressed that you committed the offence not in cooperation with others, you did not use any weapon, you did not useany force on the victim or put him in fear. I take all these into account.
12. I also take into account the fact that you picked a particularly vulnerable victim, an 82 year old gentleman.
13. In all the circumstances, I am of the view that an initial starting point of 15 months is appropriate.
14. Your counsel said the place you committed the offence was not as crowded as a junction in Mongkok. Whilst it may be true, whatI cannot ignore is that the market is a place where the public is at particular risk. It was crowded at that time.
15. In my view you are persistent offender and this is a serious aggravating factor.
16. In my judgement these last two factors call for a higher starting point by 12 months.
17. Accordingly, the ultimate starting point I am to adopt is 27 months. You pleaded guilty and are therefore entitled to a one-thirddiscount. Having considered the whole circumstances of the case, I am of the view that this is the extent of discount you are entitledto.
18. By reason of the matters aforesaid, I sentence you to 18 months’ imprisonment.