Student fined for shoplifting while under exam pressure

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 September, 2009, 12:00am

A university student diagnosed as exhibiting pathological behaviour was fined HK$3,500 yesterday for seven counts of shoplifting.

Tsoi Tsz-sheung, 21, a student of politics and history at the University of Hong Kong, committed the thefts between May 31 and June 17.

He stole items including condoms, an electric toothbrush, foot care products, a battery charger, cleansing gel and snacks from a convenience store, a health-care-product shop, a snack shop and an electrical-appliance outlet.

Tsoi, who had pleaded guilty to the seven counts, appeared in Fanling Court yesterday for sentencing.

'I deeply blame myself. I hope you will give me a chance,' he told acting Principal Magistrate Bernadette Woo Huey Fang.

The court heard earlier that Tsoi consulted a doctor after committing the thefts and was found to be suffering from compulsive behaviour due to exam pressure.

A probation officer's report concluded that he did not need probation.

Defence lawyer Raymond Ng Chi-hin said Tsoi had received strong support from his family and shown determination to correct his mistake. The student's mother and elder brother accompanied him to court yesterday.

The magistrate fined Tsoi HK$500 on each count of theft, saying she had taken into consideration that psychological problems had rendered him unable to control himself at the time and that he had pledged to continue therapy.

'I will certainly give you a chance. But you pay back society in the future. Don't steal things again, child, otherwise your future will be completely destroyed,' Woo told the student.

A spokeswoman for the university said it would consider appropriate disciplinary action.