Inmate stabbed in eye, court told

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2011, 12:00am

An inmate stabbed the eye of a fellow prisoner with a sharpened toothbrush because the victim refused to help him petition prison authorities to open an indoor playground for him to play soccer on rainy days, the District Court heard yesterday.

Ho Yuk-wun, 51, described by prosecutors as a 'very dangerous' criminal serving a jail term, pleaded not guilty to one count of wounding and one of assault against fellow prisoners Mak Siu-wing and Soong Kwok-fai on April 20, 2009, at the maximum security Shek Pik Prison.

The court heard that Mak lost 10 per cent of vision in his left eye because of the incident and Soong suffered cuts to his face, waist and limbs. However, Ho's lawyers said he acted in self-defence. All three inmates have Category A status, meaning they are among the most dangerous and violent criminals in the prison.

Because of their status, police and the Correctional Services Department frisked and searched people entering the court.

Mak gave evidence in court handcuffed. He said he was taking a nap after lunch in the prison's canteen when he suddenly felt pain. He fell on the floor with his face covered in blood. He saw Ho holding a sharp object, which he later found was a sharpened toothbrush, charge towards Soong, who held up a plastic chair as a shield.

Mak said he believed he was attacked because he did not confront the Correctional Services Department, as Ho had asked him to, and refused to collect complaint letters from inmates. The court heard Mak originally wrote a letter to the department but later withdrew a complaint.

Ho's barrister, Kevin Tang Tsz-kai, suggested that Mak was one of the people in prison controlling illegal soccer bets. Tang alleged that Mak forced Ho to place bets with him, tried to extort HK$10,000 from Ho and on several occasions beat him up with his friends.

Tang said it was Mak who first attacked Ho because Ho was about to report his gambling business to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Ho grabbed the weapon from his hand and struck back.

Under cross-examination, Mak said: '[Ho] is the only one intimidating others in the prison ... he is so strong. Who would have a fight with him? Only he would beat people up. He has paralysed a guy before. I'm so fearful of him and always stay away from him.'

The trial continues before Judge Albert Wong Sung-hau.