HKSAR v. LAU WAI CHOI, RAY

DCCC1322/2009

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1322 OF 2009

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HKSAR
v.
Lau Wai-choi, Ray

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Before: H H Judge S. D’Almada Remedios

Date: 3 May 2010 at 9.49 am

Present: Mr Andrew Li, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Miss Chan Man-yee, Cannise, instructed by Sam Fu & Co., for the Defendant

Offence: Robbery (搶劫罪)

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Reasons for Sentence

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1. Defendant, you have pleaded guilty to an offence of robbery, contrary to section 10 of the Theft Ordinance. You admitted that on 3 November 2009, outside the Ground Floor of Fu Wing Building, No. 16-18 Pitt Street, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon,you robbed Kwan Wing-yan Jelly of one handbag.

2. At around 4.48 am on 3 November, the victim, Madam Kwan, was walking alone on Pitt Street on her way home. When she was openingthe front gate of her building that is on the ground floor of Fu Wing Building, she heard your voice from behind her. She turnedaround and she was punched on her mouth. You then snatched her LV handbag she was carrying on her right shoulder. You immediatelyfled with her handbag in the westerly direction of Pitt Street.

3. Madam Kwan gave chase and raised hue. Mr Wong, who was working at a laundry on Pitt Street, was alerted and came to Madam Kwan’sassistance. She identified to Mr Wong you were the person who robbed her. At that time, you were running about 10 metres aheadof her. After a short chase, you were intercepted by Mr Wong. At that time, you were holding the victim’s handbag in your hand. You gave the handbag to Mr Wong and begged him not to make a report to the police. At this juncture, a police officer was patrollingnearby and alerted. You were arrested.

4. Under caution, you claimed you did not know what had happened as you had taken some medicine. The officer observed you to be sober. The handbag was recovered from you and you were identified by Madam Kwan to be the person who robbed her. The handbag and propertieswere valued at $2,820. Madam Kwan was sent to hospital for medical treatment and upon medical examination it was found she sustainedcontusion on her lower lip.

5. In a subsequent video-recorded interview, you admitted you had touched the LV handbag but claimed to have taken sleeping pills andsome cough syrup and therefore did not know what you had done with the handbag.

6. You have 13 previous convictions, of which 4 are for dishonesty offences and 2 are similar to robbery; the robberies were committedin 1989 and 1997. For that 1997 conviction, you were sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment.

7. You are 38 years of age and married. Your wife lives in Shenzhen, China. At the time of the offence, you were on CSSA, receiving$1,800 a month. As you had insufficient money to sustain your living and to go and visit your wife in China, you decided to resortto crime to get quick cash.

8. Miss Chan, your counsel, has made a full mitigation on your behalf. I have taken into account all that she has had to say. Sheinformed me that you would like to express your apologies to the victim and that on the day you were out and about in the streetsas you actually lived in the vicinity and because you had taken sleeping pills but, however, you could not sleep, you went downstairsand wandered around. This robbery was not premeditated and was committed out of a quick whim. She rightly states that your greatestmitigating factor is of course your plea of guilty, and she also rightly recognises that there is no tariff for robbery without weapons.

9. In this case, you had, in my view, targeted a young lady who was walking in the street alone in the early hours of the morning. She was vulnerable to any attack as there must have been very few people in the street. Over and above, you actually robbed herat the doorstep of her home. You could see that she was opening the gate of her door and at that time was also vulnerable.

10. I do not accept that it was not premeditated. You saw a vulnerable victim and went and committed this crime. Not only did you robher but you used unnecessary violence. When she turned round, you immediately punched her in her face injuring her lip. That onany terms is a dangerous area to hit anybody, serious damage can result in punching somebody in the face. You are quite a heftyman against a 26-year-old young lady. You have two similar convictions of robbery.

11. I consider for the robbery alone a starting point of 3 years’ imprisonment. I consider aggravating factors to be the violence usedon the victim and your previous similar convictions and increase that starting point by 6 months. The starting point after trial,had I convicted you after trial, would have been 3 and a half years’ imprisonment. However, you having pleaded guilty, I give youfull credit for your plea of guilty and reduce that term to one of 2 years 4 months’ imprisonment to which you are so sentenced.

(S. D’Almada Remedios)
District Judge