Jetfoil hijack defendant must wait for verdict

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 May, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 May, 1996, 12:00am

A Macau judge has retired to decide whether a former police detective was the mastermind who organised the $10 million hijacking of a Far East jetfoil last year.

Justice Joao Augusto Gil de Oliveira said he would hand down a verdict next Thursday, after listening to a tearful 20-minute plea for clemency by defendant Wu Shu-cheong.

Wu, 37, faces 20 years in jail on charges of piracy and possession of firearms.

He wept as he told the court his wife had considered committing suicide with the couple's two sons, and that he had tried to kill himself in police custody.

The former Judiciary Police officer is accused of planning the attack on the jetfoil Guia on June 13 last year, but insists he was merely a lookout who took orders from a boss named 'Ah Kam'.

'Ah Kam does exist and he is the mastermind. The reason I did not mention him before is that he has helped me a lot,' Wu said.

A deep financial crisis had tempted Wu into taking part in the scheme, in which an armed gang stole $10 million in bank takings which was being ferried from Macau to Hong Kong, he said.

Wu had planned a peaceful retirement to spend time with his family after seeing a colleague shot during a police operation in 1994, the court heard.

'But all my dreams were shattered when I found out my mother was deceived in a property transaction and I was facing several million dollars of debt incurred by my wife in the forex market,' he said.

'I feel terribly sad and guilty. I am willing to be punished by society.' But prosecutor Antonio Augusto Queriros questioned the existence of 'Ah Kam'.

'If Ah Kam is the true mastermind, why could the robbers partition out the $10 million without waiting for instructions from him?' he asked.