Probation for pupil over threat to kill Tsang
A 17-year-old Wah Yan College, Kowloon, pupil was put on probation for one year yesterday for threatening to kill former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen if he did not deliver HK$100 million, and making false bomb threats.
Acting Principal Magistrate Amanda Woodcock told Kwun Tong Court she had taken into consideration that Ho Lok-hei, a bright Form Five pupil with Asperger's syndrome - a disorder considered by some experts as being at the milder end of the autism spectrum - was unable to handle the pressure of exams.
She said this balanced out the seriousness of the offences in what was a marginal case for probation.
'Any student from a good school can suffer stress,' she told Ho. 'You chose to deal with it with methods that are in fact criminal offences.'
The probation order was made on the condition that Ho works, studies and resides according to direction, takes part in group activities and receives psychiatric treatment. The sentence would be reconsidered if he breaks the conditions or commits further offences.
'I hope that does not happen,' said Woodcock.
Wah Yan College principal Dr John Tan Kang said in a statement yesterday that the school was 'grateful to and relieved by' the court's ruling.
The school did not regard Ho as being a burden and he still has his place there to continue his studies.
His peers, teachers and the school's educational psychologist would continue to help him overcome the negative impact of his problems.
'We treasure Lok-hei as a person who teaches our students empathy and love through his presence,' said Kang.
Ho pleaded guilty in Kowloon City Court last month to sending a letter threatening to kill Tsang and his family if the chief executive did not deliver HK$100 million to a rubbish bin outside Central MTR station.
He also admitted making two bomb threats to the airport earlier this year.
He was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome five years ago.
The court heard that his parents blamed themselves for being too demanding and causing him stress.
Woodcock considered his medical reports and mitigation letters from his family and school.
She told Ho that he must seek professional help when he feels stress mounting or when facing problems in school that upset him.
'You must find a way to channel your emotions and ask for help quickly,' she said.