Toy dealer gets 12 months for hoax terror alert

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 February, 2011, 12:00am

A toy dealer who sent a hoax e-mail to US customs about a planned terrorist attack, shutting a busy port for 10 hours, was jailed for a year yesterday.

Luk Wa, 42, sent the e-mail in June 2005 to stop his goods from being delivered to a buyer who had not paid Luk's bill for US$150,000.

Luk earlier faced extradition to the US, but the court heard yesterday that Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen had decided not to pursue the matter further.

In the District Court, Judge Joseph Yau Chi-lap said: 'As an adult, he must have been able to realise what he stated in the e-mail would cause serious alarm to US authorities.'

He said the e-mail was sent just four years after the September 11 attack, and that it was a barbarous and illegal means to solve problems.

In the e-mail, titled 'Alert Gorillaz Dirty Bombs Attack Oakland Port!!!!!!!!!!', sent to the US Department of Homeland Security, Luk claimed to be an officer from Guangdong police.

It said Pakistani terrorists had loaded radioactive materials and explosives into two containers that were on the way to the west coast port of Oakland, which led to the 10-hour closure. The containers actually contained 1,000 cartons of figurines of the virtual band Gorillaz.

Luk earlier pleaded guilty to obtaining access to a computer with dishonest intent. He admitted hacking into a broadband internet account to send the hoax e-mail.

Defence lawyer Mui Moosdeem Azmat told the court that Luk's father, who had been paying Luk's legal bill with his pension, had exhausted his funds and could no longer afford to pay for Andrew Bruce SC, who represented Luk earlier.

Luk broke down in tears and wailed 'I'm sorry, father!', after Mui said his 80-year-old father had become depressed and frail over the case.

A former employee of the toy dealer wrote to the court that Luk was under financial stress because he was cheated out of US$1 million by an American. His father's letter said Luk had mistakenly trusted people because of his lack of experience.