'Socially inept' bomb hoaxer given 12 months' probation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 October, 2005, 12:00am

Magistrate offers man chance to turn over new leaf

A sacked former PCCW worker responsible for a bomb hoax that caused thousands of people to be evacuated was given a chance yesterday to turn over a new leaf.

Magistrate Rickie Chan Kam-cheong, sentenced Yip Tsz-ming, 31, to 12 months' probation, saying it was more important to offer the 'socially inept' man help than send him to jail.

Yip was convicted last month of a breach of the Public Order Ordinance after leaving a box and a threatening note outside a PCCW shop near the Miramar Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui in June.

The hoax brought traffic to a standstill and caused shops to be closed and nearby buildings to be evacuated.

Yesterday Mr Chan said he did not want to send the wrong message to the public about the severity of the offence but decided on probation after considering Yip's personal background and the overall circumstances.

Yip continued to insist that the box was intended to gather public donations to buy a bigger grave for his father, but Mr Chan dismissed this as 'nonsense'.

He said he believed Yip knew what he did was wrong and had caused great disturbance to the public.

Yip's counsel said he was a hardworking, responsible son who made use of his free time to participate in community services as a member of an auxiliary medical unit and a scout leader.

Yip, who operated his own secretarial services company at a loss after being sacked by PCCW in 2000, attached notes to the box making accusations against PCCW and also a sentence which read 'Don't touch, or bear the consequences.'

Explosives experts later found the box contained only two bricks.

Yip, who admitted placing the box there, said it served as a donation box and the two bricks were meant to keep it in place.