IN THE SUPREME COURT OF HONG KONG
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 164 OF 1972
Coram: Leonard J. in Court.
Date of Judgment:
1. The appellants in this case were respectively a man of 19 years and a girl of 17 years. In the Court below the 1st appellant hadpleaded guilty to keeping an unlicensed massage establishment and the 2nd appellant aiding and abetting this offence.
2. The first appellant acted as door keeper in the house and the 2nd appellant as one of the “massage girls”.
3. The appellants first came before the Court on the 14th January 1972 and after several remands for training centre reports, probationreports and drug addiction reports they were finally sentenced to detention at a training centre. The Commissioner of Prisons had,in his report, suggested probation for the 2nd appellant. When the appellants came before me they had already been detained for slightlyover 3 months.
4. The offence of keeping an unlicensed massage establishment is not one which is unknown to the magistracies and it is generally dealtwith by the imposition of a small fine. As Crown counsel pointed out to me the maximum sentence which may be imposed on an adultis a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for 6 months.
5. The 1st appellant had 21 previous convictions 19 of which were described in his record as being for “touting” and I gathered thatthese were incurred when he advertised a tailoring concern to passing tourists in the street. His other convictions were for loiteringand possession of opium for which he had been placed on probation to which he had not been responsive. The 2nd appellant had a clearrecord.
6. Much as I admire the meticulous care with which the learned Magistrate investigated the background of these appellants and althoughI appreciate that he considered detention at training centres to be in their best interests rather than as a punishment I cannotagree that it was appropriate for what were, when all is said and done, petty offences.
7. The 1st appellant having already been detained for 3 months I allowed his appeal and ordered that he be released forthwith. Unlessthe 2nd appellant receives some supervision there is danger that she will become a prostitute, if she is notone already, and in allowingher appeal I ordered that she be placed on probation for 1 year.