IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF APPEAL
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 610 OF 2002
(ON APPEAL FROM DCCC NO. 1043 OF 2002)
Coram: Hon Leong CJHC in Court
Date of Hearing: 4 March 2003
Date of Judgment: 4 March 2003
J U D G M E N T
1. The applicant Yeung Wong Lam was convicted on his own plea of one count of attempting to obtain property by deception. He was sentencedto 3 years imprisonment.
2. He now applies for leave to appeal against sentence.
3. The applicant admitted before the District Court that on 4.7.2002, he and the 1st defendant in this case and an unknown man wentto the office of the victim to show the victim some gold nuggets. They tried to persuade the victim to buy the gold nuggets fromthem. A piece was torn from one of the gold nuggets and tested by the victim’s assistant to see if it was genuine gold and this wasconfirmed to be genuine. But no sales took place on that day. The 1st defendant subsequently visited the victim’s office a few timesand on 7.9.2002, he asked the victim if she was still interested in buying the gold nuggets. The victim told him to come back thefollowing morning. In the meantime, the victim called the police.
2. The applicant and the 1st defendant came to the victim’s office on 9.9.2002 and the victim told them she wanted to buy the goldnuggets and requested to inspect the goods. The applicant took out two packets containing a total of 21 gold nuggets and 21 goldbuddahs to show the victim. They were then arrested by police officers who were there waiting in ambush. The gold nuggets and buddahswere later confirmed by the Government Chemist to be made of alloys of zinc and copper and not gold. The applicant came to Hong Kongon a two-way permit.
3. The judge took 3 years as the starting point and after giving the applicant one-third discount for his plea, considered that a sentenceof 2 years was the appropriate sentence. On the application of the prosecution, the judge enhanced the sentence by 50% pursuant tothe Organized and Serious Crimes Ordinance on the basis of prevalence of the offence.
4. In his grounds of appeal, the applicant states that he committed the offence because he was ignorant of the law and that in admittingthe offence he had helped the court and the police. He also said that the sentence was too heavy having regard to the sentences ofsimilar cases. He told the court that he had a young family to look after and a 70-year old mother who is sick for him to take careof.
5. In my opinion, having regard to the nature of the offence and the amount involved, the sentence of 2 years after plea for a personwho came to Hong Kong to commit deception is more than appropriate.
6. The enhancement of sentence was based on a statement made by Woman Detective Senior Inspector of Police Yip Ching Han who providedto the judge the information as to the prevalence of such offences. The information which was agreed by the applicant indicated thatduring a 8-month period prior to the date of trial, there were 588 similar cases reported and 148 people arrested of whom 138 peoplewere two-way permit holders. In the previous two consecutive years, the case figures were 623 and 617. The judge concluded that thesefigures showed the prevalence of such offences and the prevalence of two-way permit holders coming to Hong Kong to commit such offences.
7. I agree with the judge that these are appalling figures and the judge was entitled to regard offences of this kind committed by two-waypermit holders prevalent offences in Hong Kong. On that basis the judge was entitled to enhance the sentence by 50%.
8. I do not see any arguable ground in an appeal against sentence in the circumstances of the present case. The application for leaveto appeal against sentence is dismissed.
Applicant – in person.
Mr Anthony Cheang, Senior Government Counsel, for HKSAR/Respondent.