HKSAR v. ZHANG WEI

DCCC15/2011

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 15 OF 2011

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HKSAR
v.
Zhang Wei

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Before: H H Judge Lok

Date: 15 February 2011 at 10.23 am

Present: Mr Winston Chan, SPP, of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Chris Yiu Yuk-wah, of Yaddy Cheung & Co., for the Defendant

Offence: Burglary (入屋犯法罪)

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Reasons for Sentence

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1. The Defendant pleads guilty to one count of burglary.

2. The victim was a Renminbi remittance exchange company situated at the shop on the ground floor of a building in Lung Sum Avenue,Sheung Shui. The company shop was installed with a burglary alarm system. Adjacent to the company shop, there was a vacated shopwhich was separated from the company shop with a brick wall.

3. At around 5.40 am on 21 November 2010, the burglary alarm system of the company shop was triggered off. The owner of the shop wasthen informed of the same and hence made a report to the police.

4. Shortly afterwards, a team of police officers arrived at the scene and saw the Defendant coming out of the vacant shop. The Defendantwas then wearing a pair of gloves and carrying with a rucksack.

5. The police officers declared their identities. The Defendant immediately fled. During the escape, the Defendant abandoned the rucksackon the ground. Having chased after the Defendant for a while, the police officers finally subdued the Defendant.

6. Upon search of the Defendant, cash in the sum of HK$3,240 and Renminbi ¥2,225 was found in the left front pocket of the Defendant’strousers. Besides, one pair of clamp, one torch, one key and one surgical mask were found in the left pocket of the Defendant’sjacket. In addition, the Defendant was wearing a pair of gloves when he was intercepted.

7. The rucksack was found to have contained several masks, one chisel, one hammer, two screwdrivers, one cutter and some plastic bags.

8. One of the police officers made enquiry with the Defendant who admitted that the money found on him was taken from the company andthat the pair of gloves that he was wearing was for digging a hole in the brick wall. The police officer then arrested and cautionedthe Defendant. Under verbal caution at the scene, the Defendant remained silent.

9. In the subsequent video recorded interview, the Defendant admitted under caution the following:

(i) A male named “Go Ger” whom he met in a restaurant in Shenzhen asked him to burgle into a currency exchange shop in Hong Kongand steal money therein, for which he would earn at least $300,000 to $400,000.

(ii) The said “Go Ger” gave him the tools for stealing.

(iii) He wore a pair of gloves and opened the roller shutter of the vacant shop. He then dug the hole in the brick wall between thevacant shop and the company shop with the chisel and hammer.

(iv) Thereafter, he climbed over the hole and entered the company shop.

(v) He prised open the drawer and stole the money therein.

(vi) He also tried to prise open the safe with the crowbar and screwdrivers but in vain.

10. The owner of the company checked the company shop and found that there was a hole, 2 feet x 2 feet in size, in the brick wall betweenthe company shop and the vacant shop. Besides, the safe which was originally placed underneath the cashier was moved to the storeroom. Prised marks were also found on the safe. A crowbar which did not belong to the company was found next to the safe. The cashierwas ransacked. Cash in the sum of HK$5000 and Renminbi ¥2,225 went missing from the drawer of the cashier. In addition, two screwdriverswhich did not belong to the company were found on the floor near the cashier.

11. The Defendant is aged 28 and is a resident in the Mainland. He has no criminal record in Hong Kong and in the Mainland. His nativeplace is in Henan, one of the poorest districts in the Mainland. He then came to Shenzhen to look for a better job. Prior to comingto Hong Kong, he was employed as a cook in a supper club earning about Renminbi ¥2,500 a month, and he managed to contribute Renminbi¥1,000 to his family in his native place.

12. According to Mr Yiu, solicitor for the Defendant, the Defendant has a girlfriend and he committed the offence in order to satisfythe greed of his high spending girlfriend.

13. The normal starting point for burglary in non-domestic premises is one of 2½ years’ imprisonment. However, the present offenceinvolved premeditation and careful planning on the part of the Defendant. He came from the Mainland to Hong Kong with a two-waypermit for the purpose of committing the present offence. To a certain extent, the offence was also carried out in a professionalmanner.

14. The Defendant went to the vacant shop adjacent to the company shop and gained entry to the company shop by digging a hole in thebrick wall between the vacant shop and the company shop. He also possessed various tools with a view to break open the safe or whateversafety devices in the company shop.

15. By reason of such aggravating factors, I adjust the starting point for the offence to one of 3 years’ imprisonment. Giving theDefendant one-third discount for his plea of guilty, the sentence is reduced to one of 2 years’ imprisonment.

16. Burglary is a very serious offence and clear record carries very little weight in terms of mitigation. I have also considered allthe other mitigating factors advanced by the Defendant’s solicitor, but I do not find them justify any further reduction in thesentence. Therefore, I impose a custodial imprisonment of 2 years in the present case.

(David Lok)
District Judge