IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 70 OF 2013
Reasons for Sentence
Charge and facts
1. The defendant pleads guilty to a charge of procurement of unlawful sexual act by threats, contrary to s 119 of the Crimes Ordinance, Cap 200.
2. Girl X (“X”) was born on 31 July 1996. In late July 2012 (and for the purpose of the present sentence should be treated as31 July 2012 as a version more favourable to the defence) she visited a social networking site called “Badoo” with a user name“Shadow”. The defendant offered her money for sex. Initially she refused but wanting money for her 16th birthday she agreed to have sexual intercourse with the defendant for $1,200. She anticipated that no photos would be taken. Shemet up with the defendant at Sham Shui Po MTR Station. The defendant took her to Kwai Lam Inn, a guesthouse in Kweilin Street. They had oral sex and sexual intercourse in which he wore a condom. The defendant left first.
3. A few days later, they negotiated the fee down to $300 on Badoo. He paid $300 into a bank account to her order.
4. X held a Facebook account with her user name “絕對專一 (Absolutely Faithful)”. On 13 August 2012, she received a messagefrom a user named “Peter Parker” which posted a nude picture of her taken at Kwai Lam Inn. The defendant implied to her thatunless she had sex with him he would upload her nude photo on “Youtube”. She was scared of these threats and as a result agreedto have sex with him. Pursuant to his arrangement, on 20 August 2012 she met him at the Sham Shui Po MTR Station. He took her toKwai Lam Inn where they had oral sex and sexual intercourse in which he wore a condom. When she complained of pain, he stopped. Afterwards she went home.
5. On 3 September he messaged her again on Facebook. She made it clear that he had forced her to have sex with him and was unhappy. She asked if he wanted to push her to death. He threatened to put her photos on “Youporn” and “www.chinesegirlphoto.com”so everybody could see. He also made reference to her boyfriend.
6. On 4 September he messaged her again and threatened to put her photo on Facebook and send the photo to her boyfriend forthwith. The defendant demanded satisfaction from X in a 2-hour duration. It was said to be the last time they would meet and then say goodbyefor ever.
7. On 6, 7, 12, 14, 17, 18 and 19 September he sent her more messages asking for sex. On 17 September he had also referred to theFacebook account of her boyfriend. As a result of the threats to distribute the nude photos of her unless she would have sex withhim, she agreed to meet him at Sham Shui Po MTR station on 21 September.
8. She was so upset by his threats, recited on 9 days in the period between 3 and 19 September that she had left a message on Facebookindicating that she wanted to die. Her class teacher discovered the message and approached her. She looked so down that he fearedshe might commit suicide. A social worker of the school was consulted. She told them what had been going on. They made a reportto the police with her mother on 17 September.
9. On 21 September, under police surveillance she went to meet up with the defendant at the Sham Shui Po MTR station as appointed. He was arrested with a mobile phone and a condom.
10. He admitted the aforesaid matters and also his having used the mobile phone to take nude pictures of X when they first had sex atKwai Lam Inn.
Personal background and mitigation
11. He is 41 years of age. He has a clear record. He was born in Hong Kong. He spent his childhood and early adulthood in India wherehis maternal and paternal grandparents were as well as the family of his wife. Both he and his wife have a mixed Indian Chineseethnic background.
12. After returning to Hong Kong he had worked as a clerk and set up his own business. These did not prove promising and since March2007, he has been working as a sales manager in the same trading company. The employer’s letter commended him as an honest, well-behaved,responsible and hardworking employee. The company expressly intends to re-employ him after his term of imprisonment. There is aletter from an organization known as “International Human Rights Channel” which stated that he had performed several charityworks for it as a volunteer. A supplemental letter dated 5 June 2013 from the organization explained that he had spent a lot oftime (though exact hours not indicated) to help it run various voluntary programs for the promotion of ethnic minority groups’interest in Hong Kong.
13. He lives with his wife and 3 sons aged between 7 and 11. His wife has a busy full-time job and earns more than he. She put herjob and her children above him. His emotional and physical needs were often ignored.
14. As shown in the extracts from Badoo provided by the defence, the site expressly purported to serve people aged 18 or above and Xwas looking for a male friend aged between 18 and 21. His counsel submits that she had held herself out as aged 18 or above in joiningthe site and he had no idea that she was only 16 when they first had sex. She had even told him that at the age of 13 she had hadsex with her boyfriend and once had undergone an abortion. She expressly needed money to celebrate her birthday. I accept thathe had not groomed her as she was sexually mature and proactive in seeking to trade her body for cash.
15. There are no sentencing guidelines. His counsel in mitigation has cited the following 2 cases as comparison:
Sentencing this defendant
16. The defendant was a mature man of the world, old enough to be her father. The mere difference in age spoke aloud of exploitation,which was actually demonstrated by his secret taking of her nude photos, the reduction in fee from $1,200 to $300 and the referenceto expose the nude photos to her boyfriend to fortify his threat. It was a one-off procurement of sexual act which took place on20 August 2012 but he had, on 9 separate days in the period between 3 and 19 September, continued to threaten to distribute the photoson the internet and send them to her boyfriend.
17. Notwithstanding her sexual maturity and mercenary motive at the beginning, she had just turned 16 when the matter rapidly developedout of her depth. She has remained socially immature and devoid of counsel until her message accidentally reached her teacher. There was no basis to doubt her expressed suicidal ideation as it drew close to the appointment of 21 September. Notwithstandingher premature initiation into sex and her past follies, this Court does not regard her any less a vulnerable person to be protected. The defendant was fully culpable for pushing her to the cliff.
18. I take 4 years as the starting point. I give a one-third discount because of the guilty plea. His voluntary work should give hima further discount which I pitch at 2 months. There are no other mitigating factors. The sentence is 2 years and 6 months.