Mugger struck to pay fines

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 October, 1997, 12:00am

When a small-time criminal was hit with a $20,000 fine for his crimes, he turned to mugging to pay it off, a court heard yesterday.

Au Kun, 41, and accomplice Lam Yee-tak, 45, preyed on lone women on public housing estates, stealing their housekeeping money.

They netted a few cheap gold necklaces and $3,100 from the five daylight robberies - and 3.5 years each in prison from the Court of First Instance.

Both men admitted committing the robberies in March.

Au grabbed the women from behind as they walked up otherwise-deserted stairwells. Lam threatened them and took the money and jewellery.

Au, who had 26 previous criminal convictions, was driven by the need to pay off $20,000 in fines from selling illegal petrol, barrister Newman Wong, representing both men, said.

But Mr Justice Thomas Gall said: 'You chose women who were alone on the staircase and were good and easy targets.

'And you fixed the time for the crimes in the morning when you knew most husbands were at work and most of the children at school.'