Security guard jailed for firing shotgun in shopping centre fight

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 February, 2011, 12:00am

A security guard who accidentally fired his shotgun in a busy Causeway Bay shopping centre during an argument with a colleague was jailed for eight months yesterday.

The incident happened outside retail chain HMV at Style House in the Park Lane Hotel at about 8.50pm on October 3 last year.

Choy Chi-wai, 36, a guard with Guardforce, and long-time foe Chan Yick-lung were collecting cash from the HMV shop when they had a quarrel which turned into a fight.

Choy pleaded guilty in the District Court to dealing with a firearm with reckless disregard for the safety of others, and common assault.

Senior public prosecutor Winsome Chan Suk-wai said the fight started when Chan, angered by Choy's manners, threw some receipts on the floor as they left the shop. Choy reacted by throwing a barcode printer at Chan's forehead.

Chan then swore at Choy, pushed him in the chest and grabbed his collar, leading Choy to point the gun at Chan's waist.

Chan challenged Choy to fire the gun who then primed the weapon. Chan immediately pushed the gun barrel away and grabbed Choy from behind. In the ensuing struggle, the gun went off and left a three-centimetre hole in the ceiling.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Norman Lee Chi-wai said Choy committed the offence on the spur of the moment and it was out of character.

Lee submitted a list of 220 signatures from Choy's colleagues asking for leniency, and letters from two legislative councillors who said Choy had taken an active role in a staff union.

Passing sentence, acting Chief District Judge Poon Siu-tung said: 'As [Choy] was licensed to carry the lethal weapon, he was entrusted by the public to carry it in discharge of his duty and he must assume the same degree of responsibility as a police officer when carrying a gun.'

Poon said Choy failed the responsibility placed on him.

The judge adopted 18 months' imprisonment as a starting point. He cut six months to reflect Choy's previous good character and further reduced it by a third for his plea.

Choy was also jailed for 14 days for assaulting Chan. The sentences are to run concurrently.