IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 130 OF 2009
Before: Deputy District Judge Tallentire
Date: 21 May 2009 at 3.15 pm
Offence: Theft (盜竊罪)
Reasons for Sentence
1. Defendant, you pleaded guilty to 25 offences of theft each contrary to section 9 of the Theft Ordinance Cap.210. You admitted the brief facts and I convicted you. The brief facts were as follows.
2. You were employed as a salesman in 2004 by Wild Way Textile Limited, a company dealing in textiles. Upon receipt of an order youwere required to issue an invoice and corresponding delivery order to the client with copies to Wild Way to enable the client toobtain the fabrics from Wild Way’s godown.
3. Sze Tung Weaving Factory was a client of Wild Way. In July 2007 the manager of Wild Way, upon examination of company records, foundthat Sze Tung had purchased and obtained fabric from Wild Way on 25 occasions between 7 January 2006 and 24 July 2007. In July hediscovered that Sze Tung had never placed such orders nor received the fabric. Upon confronting you you admitted to having stolenabout $1.1 million worth of fabrics. You promised to compensate the company but failed to do so. Therefore, the matter was reportedto the police.
4. On 19 October 2007 you were arrested. Under caution you admitted inter alia that you had created bogus transactions, that you hadsold the goods cheaply to a Miss Mak, that you had used cheques of Wild Way’s clients to settle outstanding payments, that youhad cheated the company out of approximately $1.2 million and that you had spent the money on gambling and repaying debts to financecompanies. The exact value of the fabric stolen was $1,252,084.75.
5. You are a man of hitherto clear record. In mitigation I was told that you are 36 years of age, married and now unemployed. In 2008you had been declared bankrupt and therefore you were unable to pay compensation. The money had been stolen in order to repay gamblingdebts and settle loans with loan sharks. Your co-operation with the police was stressed.
6. I was referred to three authorities, the consensus being that for a theft which is a breach of trust as in this situation the standardtariff was one for $1 million to $3 million would be either 3 to 4 years or 3 to 5 years. This case involves an amount of approximately1.2 million so it is towards the lower end of the tariff. In sentencing you I took into account the number of charges, the timespanfor the commission of those charges being approximately 18 months, the facts and methods of the thefts, obviously the amount thatwas stolen, that this was a breach of trust situation, and also I had regard to the mitigation advanced. I noted that you are aman of hitherto clear record. I accept that you have been very co-operative with the police and, indeed, seemed to me you were co-operativewith your employer at the time when the thefts were discovered. However, there is a degree of sophistication in the execution ofthese offences and the scheme operated over a period of several months. I regard these two factors as aggravating features.
7. I decided that the proper approach to take was to take an overall period of imprisonment and to impose that concurrently on eachoffence. Taking into account all the factors I have mentioned I took as a starting point 39 months’ imprisonment; that is, 3 yearsand 3 months. For your plea of guilty I reduce that by one-third to 26 months’ imprisonment or 2 years and 2 months.
8. Therefore, on each charge you will be sentenced to 2 years and 2 months to be served concurrently, a total of 2 years and 2 months’imprisonment.