Molester 'driven to crime by loneliness'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2012, 12:00am

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A businessman who took more than 60,000 lewd photos of male models was driven to indecent assault and criminal intimidation out of loneliness and low self-esteem, a court heard yesterday.

Jerome Lau Ting-sing, 62, was found guilty last month on one count of indecently assaulting male model A, and two counts of criminally intimidating A and male model D, between 2003 and 2008.

Another charge of indecent assault, on male actor B, was dismissed.

Michael Blanchflower SC, Lau's lawyer, read out a psychological report that the District Court obtained which said Lau was a lonely man with low self-esteem who felt inferior to his siblings.

So he started photographing male models, some in compromising poses, since 2000 'to fulfil his sexual desires', Blanchflower said.

Lau, who graduated from the elite Diocesan Boys' School and Chinese University, inherited some money shortly after graduation. He had no formal employment except working for his family business, the court heard. The report also described Lau as immature, carefree and egocentric, and that he used his financial resources to abuse others. It recommended he receive psychological treatment.

The court heard earlier that Lau told the models he owned a fashion brand and could get jobs for them.

He enticed them to have their photos taken in G-strings and touched their genitals during the sessions. Lau later threatened some of the models that he would publicise their lewd photos.

In his mitigation argument, Blanchflower said Lau, who is single, had been living with his 92-year-old mother. He read a letter from her that said Lau was a caring son who accompanied his mother to family gatherings and hospital check-ups.

'She really hopes for her rest of her life to have her beloved, filial, supporting son beside her,' he said.

Blanchflower said he had shown the letter to Lau when he visited him at the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre. He said Lau - who told him that prison life was horrible, with days passing like years - broke down in tears when he read his mother's letter.

He told Blanchflower that he and his mother were 'hand in hand, heart to heart'. Lau broke down again in court when he heard his mother's words read out.

Blanchflower played down the severity of Lau's offences, arguing that the models gave their consent to be photographed and that Lau had stopped touching them once they objected. Also, Lau did not post their photos online despite threatening to do so, the lawyer told the court.

He pleaded for a non-custodial sentence, with three years of probation, so that Lau could take care of his mother. 'We do not want a defendant's prison sentence to become a prison sentence of his mother,' Blanchflower said.

Deputy district judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung, who earlier said a jail term was likely, has adjourned sentencing until Saturday because he needs more time to study the case. Lau was remanded in custody.