CRIMINAL CASE NO. 388 OF 2010
COURT: (Addressed to 2nd, 3rd and 4th Defendants) The day that the three of you agreed to participate in this armed robbery was aday that propelled you into the top league of criminal activity. You may not have known exactly what it was you would be stealingbut you knew perfectly well that it was something big. In fact, as it turned out you were right. This was a haul of platinum worth$12 million and it has never been seen since the day you stole it.
Each of you was promised a large sum of money to take part and each of you required no persuading to go through with it. It was easymoney for a day’s work and you readily joined an enterprise which was meticulously planned. You used the number of a scrapped carto make false plates which were attached to the car which took you to the robbery and away from it.
The timing was crucial and somehow the platinum was tracked all the way from Sheung Shui to Ho Man Tin. Even though its journey hadstarted with a taxi ride from Shenzhen to Sheung Shui, another taxi to Sheung Shui Railway Station and from a KCR station in Kowloon,you finally managed to track a taxi which went to Ho Man Tin. Nobody knows how that was done but in the end you were able to attackthe two couriers with perfect timing using a hammer and pepper sprays and possibly a spanner as well and you were able to make goodyour escape with 30 kilograms of platinum inside a suitcase which the couriers were delivering or trying to deliver to the owner.
It is fortunate, indeed, that the hammer blow to Lin Chuangqin’s head, which caused him to bleed profusely, was confined to a relativelysmall wound. There is apparently no permanent brain damage. In your confession to the police, Wong Yik-tung, you described the hammeras weighing one to one-and-a-half pounds and you admitted it was you that carried it. As I have indicated already, I entirely rejectthe account that you gave about only threatening the courier with the hammer which led to an accidental blow on his head. As youvery sensibly admitted today, through your counsel, that story was nonsense. Blood was found in many places on the getaway car andelsewhere at the scene of the robbery.
Chuangqin gave evidence in the trial that to this day he frequently feels pain in his head for which he is still taking some medicine.There is no doubt that he fell over after he was deliberately struck on the head and it was soon after that that he began to feeldizzy. In fact, even though he was bleeding heavily from the head, he described how he was still being hit vigorously by the threepeople whom he said had set about him. It was only then that he let go of the suitcase.
The other courier, Lin Xiaohong, was attacked after he had paid the taxi-driver and tried to go to help his colleague, but he wassprayed in the face with what he described as something having the smell of pepper. It is known, because the 3rd defendant took thepolice to where he had thrown it away, that at least one of the canisters contained CS spray. Lin Xiaohong was also repeatedly kickedand even then he bravely tried to stop the car from driving away by lying in front of the car on the road, but it reversed and droveaway.
If it had not been for the public-spirited actions of a driver employed by Wellcome Supermarket who saw the false plates being takenoff the getaway car, the gang might have escaped, but he passed on to the police what he had seen which enabled the police to circulatethe true number of the car, which was under the false plates. Very soon afterwards, the 1st defendant, who the jury yesterday convictedof wounding, and I’ll come to him later, was arrested still at the wheel of that car. In due course, he gave away his cousin’sname as being involved in the robbery.
The 2nd defendant was arrested and gave the police a full account of what had happened, naming most of the others involved. Very soonafter that, the 3rd defendant was arrested, Yeung Tim-wai, later on 25 May. He, too, confessed his role and named some of the othersinvolved.
The 4th defendant, Wong Yik-tung, was not arrested for a full month, but he provided a long account of the planning behind this robberyand a confession to his role. The 4th defendant pleaded guilty from the outset and he must be given full credit for that.
The 3rd defendant pleaded guilty only after a ruling that his answers in interview were admissible as having been voluntary. He willreceive some credit but this must be greatly reduced as the interviews were the sole evidence against him, albeit a fingerprint wasfound of his on the car. He was, in effect, attempting to get out of the trouble he was in and he did that right up to the last moment.
There is no mitigation for the 2nd defendant who has contested the charge of robbery to the last. I bear in mind that he has no previousconviction of any relevance and I ignore the one that he has.
The 3rd defendant has no convictions at all and the 4th defendant, who has a robbery conviction so many years ago that it does notmatter, has been in trouble throughout his adult life through offences connected with drugs and I ignore those for these purposestoo. You are all grown men and you knew full well what you were getting into.
I am going to take a starting point in this case of 12 years’ imprisonment. This was plainly more serious than either of the robberiesin Lai Kam Tong and Another. That is CACC 338/2004. There being no mitigation of any consequence for the 2nd defendant, the sentence on you, Man Siu-ming, is12 years’ imprisonment.
So far as the 4th defendant is concerned you pleaded guilty from the outset and you will go to prison for 8 years.
In the case of the 3rd defendant, there will of course be a reduction to take into account your greatly delayed plea of guilty andyou will go to prison for 9½ years.
I turn now to the 1st defendant. The police in your case, and in fact in all cases, faithfully recorded your account which was thatyou knew nothing about a robbery until it happened. You told them, as you repeated to the jury, that your cousin and two other menhad, as far as you knew, planned to beat up two people you had never met. How you could have agreed to this is extraordinary. Youwere in full employment with a young family and you put the whole of it at risk all because you were offered $5,000 to do some drivingfor them.
Your part was to drive your father’s car on false plates. It is noticeable from the evidence that you obviously jumped at the chanceknowing full well that you were taking three men to beat up two complete strangers who were likely to suffer cuts and bruises whilethey were, in your words, being taught a lesson.
There is no evidence on the 2nd count of wounding, of which you stand convicted, that you knew a hammer was being carried before itwas used, but for what you did there is simply no possible explanation, bearing in mind your background hitherto. No wonder yourparents are utterly shocked at your behaviour. How any right-minded member of society could behave the way you did is impossibleto understand.
The maximum sentence for this offence is 3 years’ imprisonment. There is no suggestion that any grievous bodily harm was ever intendedand you are not charged with it, but the charge was contested by you so there is no real mitigation of any significance. You willgo to prison for 30 months, 2½ years.
Please refer to CACC318/2011 for the relevant appeal(s) to the Court of Appeal.