IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 685 OF 2009
Reasons for Sentence
1. Defendant, you pleaded guilty to one offence of attempted theft contrary to section 9 of the Theft Ordinance, Cap. 210 and section 159(g) of the Crimes Ordinance, Cap. 200. You admitted the brief facts and I convicted you on those facts.
2. The facts could not have been more simple. At 7.05 pm on 27 May last a police officer patrolling at the platform of Admiralty MTRstation saw you acting furtively. He kept you under observation and saw you approach the victim from behind you used your fingersto take out his wallet from the rear pocket of his trousers.
3. You were intercepted and arrested. You were cautioned using a signing interpreter. After caution your wrote down, “I need moneytonight and therefore I have done it. I know it is wrong.” You admitted to an astonishing 37 previous convictions, 10 of whichrelated to pick pocketing either the complete offence or attempted. 25 of the convictions related to other forms of dishonesty.
4. In mitigation there was little Mr Pang could say on your behalf. He gave me your personal details. You are 54 years of age, singleand unemployed. You are one of five children. Your parents are dead. Mr Pang stressed your plea of guilty, your cooperation at thescene both in admitting to the offence and lack of resistance. He said that you promised not to commit any offences again upon releaseand that you would seek assistance.
5. In sentencing you I took into account the facts of the case, the nature of the charge and the mitigation advanced. Your recordis a very bad record, You are a persistent offender. This especially applies to crimes of dishonesty. The prosecution referred meto HKSAR v Noi Ban-hui(?) Court of Criminal Appeal, 107 of 2004.
6. In that case the Court of Appeal laid down the factors to be taken into account when sentencing for offences of pick pocketing.One factor which takes it out of the normal range of sentencing is the persistence of the commission of the offence. This establishesthat there is a need to deter persistent offenders.
7. Defendant, it is clear to me that you are a professional thief. You are professional thief with a penchant for picking pockets.A deterrent sentence is called for in this case. I do bear in mind that you are a disabled person, that you are a deaf mute and thatlife therefore must be very difficult for you. However, that does not give you the right to inflict crimes upon others.
8. Looking at your record, I must confess that I find your promise to reform to be hollow and unbelievable. Taking into account allthe circumstances in this case, I do take as a starting point 3 years’ imprisonment, that is, 36 months. I give you full creditfor your plea of guilty and reduce that by one-third to 2 years’ imprisonment. Applying the totality principle that period willbe served concurrently with your existing sentence. Therefore you will serve 2 years’ imprisonment starting from today.