Yao Yuejuan (D1)
Lao Zhirong (D2)

Before: H H Judge Geiser

Date: 20 January 2011 at 3.32 pm

Present: Mr Alex Wong, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Kelvin Lai Kin-wah, instructed by Messrs Tam, Pun & Yipp, for both Defendants

Offence: Conspiracy to defraud (串謀詐騙)


Reasons for Sentence


1. D1 and D2, you two defendants, have pleaded guilty to an offence of conspiracy to defraud, contrary to Common Law and punishableunder section 159C of the Crimes Ordinance, Cap. 200, Laws of Hong Kong, the particulars being that you, on 14 July of last year, together with persons unknown, defrauded thevictim, a 56-year-old woman, by dishonestly representing to her that 20 packets of Chinese herbal medicine was called “Dung LingWong”, that it was worth $500 per packet, and that it was able to cure excessive white blood cells, causing the victim to partwith cash of $10,000.

2. The Summary of Facts, which you have both agreed, speak of a street deception on the victim undertaken by you two defendants, withthe assistance of others not in custody. What happened was that, on the morning of 14 July of last year, the victim overheard aconversation between you D1 and one of the wanted persons that packets of a substance in the possession of the wanted person wascalled “Dung Ling Wong” and that it could cure cancer.

3. You, D1, pretended that you wanted to buy some. The victim’s interest was aroused, and eventually inside a restaurant she was introducedto you, D2, and was told that you were the supplier of the medicine. One of the wanted persons, who pretended to be the supervisorof the Kwong Wah Hospital, took the victim’s pulse and told her that she had excessive white blood cells, that she was in danger,and recommended the victim to buy the “Dung Ling Wong”. In the meantime another wanted person appeared and said that her husbandhad been cured after taking the Chinese medicine.

4. As a result of all this the victim was completely taken in. And it was you, D1, who accompanied the victim to the bank, who withdrew$10,000, gave it to you in exchange for the 20 small packets of the “Dung Ling Wong”. The substance, of course, was later foundto be nothing more than a very common Chinese medicine worth no more than $15 per catty, and had no affect in curing excessive whiteblood cells.

5. You two defendants are no more and no less than confidence tricksters who were involved in a sophisticated plan to dupe gulliblemembers of the public into believing that what you were selling was genuine.

6. These sort of offences are, in my view, nasty and heartless. You prey on the gullibility of victims in an attempt to fleece them,in this case successfully, of as much money as you can.

7. You, D1, are 45 years of age, and you, D2, 47. You are both from the mainland, and I am told committed this offence due to economic reasons. I take into account all that has been said on your behalves and note that you are prepared to offer compensation to the victim inthe total sum of $10,000. As your counsel has rightly said, this is the least you can do. It is not a matter of mitigation. Hadyou not offered to pay this compensation I can tell you I would have ordered you to have paid it.

8. I also take account of your respective pleas of guilty to this offence and will give you both the appropriate discount in sentenceto reflect this fact. In arriving at a proper starting point I have reviewed a number of cases involving street deception, includingHKSAR v Liang Yagiong & Anor [2009] HKLRD 334, where the Court of Appeal held that a proper starting point for a single offence of this nature is 3 years’ imprisonment.

9. It is right to say that in a large number of cases the prosecution have sought an enhancement of sentence under the Organised andSerious Crimes Ordinance, Cap. 455, Laws of Hong Kong. I note that in the present case this application has been withdrawn.

10. I am satisfied that in respect of both of you a proper starting point for this court to adopt is indeed a sentence of 3 years’ imprisonment. I will discount this sentence by one-third to take account of your respective pleas of guilty, arriving at a sentence of 2 years’imprisonment in respect of you both. In addition, I order each of you to pay compensation to the victim in the sum of $5,000 each,to be paid within seven days.

H H Judge Geiser
District Judge