Chauffeur jailed over 'stun guns for bosses'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2011, 12:00am


A mainland chauffeur who drove his company's luxury car into Hong Kong with batons and a stun gun in full view on the front seat was jailed for two years despite claiming he did not know such weapons were illegal in Hong Kong.

Zhou Yiping, 35, said the weapons were bought by a bodyguard to protect company executives from a blackmailer who threatened them.

But Deputy District Court Judge Merinda Chow Yin-chu rejected defence pleas for leniency, saying she did not want to send a wrong message to the public that people who faced such serious charges could avoid prison.

Customs officers found two stun guns - one on the front seat and one in the boot - and three batons in the Mercedes that Zhou drove into the city to pick up the families of company executives, the court heard.

Zhou pleaded guilty to possessing arms without a licence, possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing an offensive weapon.

He was arrested at the Hong Kong end of the Western Corridor border bridge on April 1.

Barrister Laurence Poots, seeking a suspended sentence or community service for Zhou, said it was an 'unusual case of this kind' with exceptional circumstances.

He said Zhou did not buy the weapons, nor was there any evidence he handled them.

Zhou, who had worked for the company for years, had a clean record, Poots said. He is married with a five-year-old son and his wife is five months' pregnant.

The judge said she reduced the jail term from three years for Zhou's guilty pleas, clear record and good background.

Stephen Hung Wan-shun, chairman of the Law Society's criminal law and procedure committee, warned travellers entering Hong Kong to be aware of the city's laws. 'Ignorance of the law is not a defence,' Hung said.