HKSAR v. LAM PUI FUNG

HCCC385/2011

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 385 OF 2011

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HKSAR
v
Lam Pui-fung
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Before: DHCJ Stuart-Moore

Date: 28 June 2012 at 3.54 pm

Present: Mr Patrick Loftus, on fiat, for HKSAR
Mr James McGowan, instructed by Ip, Kwan & Co, for the Defendant

Offence: Murder (謀殺)

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Transcript of the Audio Recording
of the Sentence in the above Case

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COURT: There is probably no section of society which is more open to robbery and violent assault than prostitutes who work on theirown. They do so to avoid working in illegal brothels. Sadly, as this court knows all too well, some of the assaults on such womenwho work alone end in death. It is because such women are so vulnerable that the law has to pay particular regard to their protection.Unless the sanctions are very severe, others like the defendant will be tempted to use violence on unprotected victims of this kind.

The defendant, in fact, was a copycat robber. He had read all about it in news reports of how prostitutes working by themselves wouldbe robbed in their so-called one-woman brothels. The defendant himself is a visitor to such places. So he decided to carry out arobbery himself. His motive was to steal money so that he could carry on gambling to which he was addicted.

Nobody who has heard the facts of this case would describe it as anything other than the most brutal, cowardly killing because, firstof all, you rendered that woman unconscious by putting her into an arm-lock with your right arm round her neck and using added forcewith your left hand to squeeze her neck until she was unconscious. At one point,

you put your hand over her mouth in case she called out. You are a very big man and she was not a big lady.

When she collapsed unconscious on the floor, your first thought was to go about stealing. That is exactly what you did. Then you noticedthat she was moving a bit in her hands and feet so you picked her up under the armpits and you literally dumped her like a sack ofcement in her own bathroom, by just letting go of her, and she dropped heavily onto the edge of the toilet bowl.

The pathologist does not know whether it was the forehead injury or the jaw injury which was caused by the dropping of her in thatmanner but it was a heavy fall and one of the injuries, the one to the jaw, took out a front tooth and she bit right through hertongue. You had no regard for that woman whatsoever. It was extremely violent conduct. But again, you showed how remorseless youwere because your first thought again was to go stealing. You left her like that and you went and picked up some more of her things.

Then you noticed her moving again and making a sort of bubbling sound like a child does when it has saliva in its mouth. She had notmoved but you then stuffed the toilet full with seven towels and she suffocated. She died a terrible death. You showed complete indifferenceto what you had done. You left and sold the phones and you gambled until 2 o’clock that morning until you had nothing left.

There are some cases of manslaughter where an intent to kill or cause really serious bodily harm has not been proved but which arevery close to the borderline with murder. The jury in this case, understandably, took the view that it could not be proved that youdeliberately suffocated that woman.

One of the towels got wrapped round her face but you have consistently denied that you did that as a deliberate act on your part.The jury have agreed with your plea of manslaughter which they were perfectly justified in doing, and I take into account that youdid plead guilty at the start of this trial to that very offence.

Mrs Justice Bokhary gave you a sentence of 4 years and 8 months for robbery and you have served that so I take that into account aswell, so that any sentence today must be a new sentence, bearing in mind that you have already served 4 years 8 months.

I take into account the approach of The Queen v Li Sau Ping by taking an overall view of the matter, particularly in the light of your plea and the sentence you have served, but also bearingin mind a sentence which deters others like you from doing what you did to that woman on that day. I shall impose a sentence of 9years’ imprisonment.

Please refer to CACC293/2012 for the relevant appeal(s) to the Court of Appeal.