Trial of entrapped stun-gun purchaser thrown out

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2005, 12:00am

The trial of a man charged with possessing stun guns and canisters of pepper spray was abandoned yesterday after a judge found he had been the victim of police entrapment.

Judge Chua Fi-lan stayed proceedings against Wong Ting-pun, 28, after it was revealed he had been enticed into buying the weapons by a police informer.

Mr Wong had pleaded not guilty to two charges of possessing arms without a licence after being arrested at Kwun Tong Plaza on December 7 last year.

He was arrested after a tip-off and was found in possession of five stun guns - three with pepper spray attachments that were about the size of an electric razor and two the size of a small torch - and 10 canisters of pepper spray.

A search of Mr Wong's office also turned up two more stun guns, one of which had a fitting for pepper spray, and three canisters of the spray.

At the time of his arrest, Mr Wong was sitting outside a shop in the plaza where he had arranged to meet the informer, known as Ah Lin.

He maintained he had no idea it was illegal to have a stun gun in Hong Kong and had purchased the weapons at a shop in Sheung Wan after Ah Lin had asked him to procure them and offered to pay a price which guaranteed almost 100 per cent profit on the transaction.

Mr Wong, a gun enthusiast, was an easy mark for an informer trying to work the system in his favour, defence counsel Andrew Raffell said.

'His vulnerability because of his fascination and his naive, innocent personality must have been appealing factors to Ah Lin as someone he could trap.'

Mr Wong had purchased the stun guns for about $3,000 and the informer had offered to buy them for about $7,000.

'This is not a case where a known drug dealer has sold drugs to an undercover agent,' Mr Raffell said. 'This is a case where a man ... the police had not known of or been interested in until informed by Ah Lin, has been incited by that informer.'

Judge Chua noted that whether the informer acted under the control of police or not was irrelevant and agreed with Mr Raffell that Mr Wong would not have committed the crime unless induced to by Ah Lin.

'I believe this young man who appears to have led a fairly sheltered life genuinely did not know till told by the police that it was illegal to possess stun guns in Hong Kong,' she said.

'Ignorance of the law cannot absolve him from having committed the offences. But the fact that he did not realise it was illegal does affect, if believed, his credibility and opens up the probability that it was not difficult for Ah Lin to set him up.'