HKSAR v. TANG BAN KAI

HCMA000637/1998

HCMA637/98

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

(Appellate Jurisdiction)

MAGISTRACY APPEAL NO. 637 OF 1998

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BETWEEN
HKSAR Respondent
AND
TANG BAN KAI Appellant

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Coram : Suffiad, J. in Court

Date of Hearing : 19 August 1998

Date of Judgment : 19 August 1998

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J U D G M E N T

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1. The Appellant pleaded guilty to a charge of offering for sale 650 music compact discs and 3,692 video compact discs, all of whichbeing infringing copies, commonly known as pirated discs, without the licence of the copyright owner. The offence was committed atShop Nos. 132 and 135 on the 1st Floor of Sino Centre in Mongkok on 3rd December 1997.

2. It is common ground that the Defendant was an employee of the shop and not the owner, and therefore he was not the owner of the pirateddiscs. However, he knew at the material time that all these discs were infringing copies. The Defendant, although he did not havea clear record, had no previous convictions of a similar nature. The learned Magistrate sentenced him to 16 months’ imprisonmenthaving taken two years as a starting point which was reduced by 1/3rd to take account of his plea of guilty.

3. Offences of this nature are on the increase in Hong Kong and deterrent custodial sentences are called for. In the circumstances ofthis case, when taking into account the amount of the pirated discs and that they were sold openly in a shop in the middle of Mongkok,it could only be described as a worst case scenario in the Magistrate’s Court.

4. In those circumstances, a two years starting point adopted by the Magistrate in the context of this case is not manifestly excessive.Accordingly, this appeal against sentence is dismissed.

Representation:

Miss Lily Wong, G.C., for Director of Public Prosecutions

Appellant, Tang Ban Kai, in person

(A.R. Suffiad)
Judge of the Court of First Instance