Defence says more arrests possible for acid attack

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 March, 2011, 12:00am

More people may be arrested and prosecuted in the case of six men who pleaded guilty to being involved in an acid attack against a prosecutor, a court heard yesterday.

The comment was made by a defence lawyer in the Court of First Instance, where six people pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to throw a corrosive fluid with intent in an attack on Neil Mitchell on October 27, 2009, outside the District Court building in Wan Chai.

Mitchell had been acting as prosecutor in the case against solicitor Kevin Kong Hon-yui.

Kong was jailed for six years in December 2009 after he was convicted on charges of conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to defraud in a bank mortgage scam involving loans worth HK$10.9 million.

Albert Luk, a barrister for Lai Kwok-leung, 38, who was one of the six, said yesterday: 'In future, other persons may be arrested, may be prosecuted.'

He also said his client had given a statement to police and was prepared to give more.

Lai, along with Lam Wai-sai, 21, Lee Yin-nam, 19, Jacky Ma Shun-yick, 39, Billy Kay Sik-hong, 44, and Tang Ching-ho, 29, are the defendants who pleaded guilty in the case.

Yesterday's hearing, where mitigation was heard before Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson, involved three of the men: Lam, Lee and Lai. They are due to be sentenced tomorrow. The remaining three are to be sentenced tomorrow and on Friday.

At an earlier hearing, the court heard that Kay had said he saw Kong before the attack.

Keith Oderberg, for the prosecution, said Kay had claimed that Kong had told him to 'hurry up or he [Kong] would go to jail'.

Mitchell was walking down the stairs outside the District Court to cross Harbour Road when a man ran up from behind and threw fluid from a paper cup into his face, Oderberg said. As Mitchell tried to remove the liquid, another man ran past and threw more liquid, which this time landed on the lawyer's clothing.

After Mitchell was taken to hospital, a doctor found he had suffered chemical injuries to his left eye, ear, and cheek.

Mitchell's condition slowly improved. By January last year, his injuries had fully stabilised.

Lam told police after his arrest that he had been recruited by someone on behalf of a friend called 'Ah Ki' about three days before the attack, the court had heard. He was to act as a lookout in what he thought to be a 'splashing' of someone at District Court for a reward of HK$10,000, of which he received payment of HK$2,500.

The court heard that Lee told police he had been contacted by a man who had told him he would get HK$10,000 to beat up an expatriate. The man later said to pour corrosive fluid on him. However, Lee said he fell asleep and was told to go home, after which he dumped his cup of liquid. He received HK$2,500.

Lai said that, on the day of the incident, he walked behind Mitchell and signalled to the attackers he was the target. He received HK$3,000.

In the previous case, Kong, acting for two women posing as flat buyers, applied for bank loans on their behalf, submitting documents such as a forged identity card, bank statements and a tax-return form to support the application.

ICBC paid out HK$10,978,500 for the mortgage loans between June 1, 2005, and July 31, 2006, for two flats.

The money was transferred to Kong's account and the account of a company, Add Magic Investment, of which Kong was the legal representative.