Mechanic on arms charge gets 3 years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 June, 2007, 12:00am

A mechanic was jailed for three years yesterday for unlawfully possessing a gun magazine and more than 100 rounds of ammunition found by police in the boot of his car during a search in Tin Shui Wai.

The sentencing came after Wong Chun-yim, 53, was convicted in the District Court on May 18 of one count of possessing arms and ammunition without a licence.

The court was told that on November 20 last year Wong's friend, Au Yeung Chun-hin, borrowed his car and was later intercepted by police in Tin Shui Wai.

A bag containing a gun magazine and 129 rounds of ammunition were found in the car boot.

Deputy District Court Judge Rickie Chan Kam-cheong said: 'Even though no firearm is involved in this case, the chance of the ammunition and the gun magazine falling into culprits or other people's hands is high, as they were discovered in the boot of a car, rather than at home. This is an aggravating factor.'

He considered a custodial term the only appropriate sentence.

In his testimony earlier, Wong said he held a valid firearm licence between June 1996 and August 2005. As a former member of the Hong Kong Rifle Association, he was entitled to possess five firearms during this period.

From August 2005 he decided to cancel his membership and had returned the five firearms to the association.

Wong said the magazine and ammunition discovered in his car were a gift he had prepared to give to his friend, who was also a member of the rifle association. The judge found this explanation unreasonable and unacceptable.

Although he felt sorry for Wong's family members, who had suffered as a result of his crime, there were no mitigating factors in the background report submitted to the court.

A spokesman for the rifle association said clear guidelines were given to all members, who also needed to enrol in a registration course which stated the details of possessing firearms.

He said: 'Possessing a firearm is different from having a toy ... it is very dangerous. Therefore, the guidelines state clearly what members should do when they possess a firearm ... and also after they cancel their membership.'