Vet gets two-year jail term for syringe attack

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2011, 12:00am


A veterinarian was sent to jail for two years yesterday after being found guilty of beating his ex-girlfriend and threatening to inject her with a drug used for euthanising animals.

Tsoi Sheung-ki, 37, was earlier convicted in the District Court of assault, false imprisonment and criminal intimidation of his former live-in girlfriend, Vanessa Chu Man-wah, 29, related to incidents at his Ma On Shan clinic on August 13 and 14 last year. The court ruled that Tsoi had committed the crimes out of jealousy after he found photos on Facebook of Chu posing with men who had taken her out for meals.

Judge Anthea Pang Ko-kam originally handed down a 27-month term, considering the fear and trauma Chu had suffered during a six-hour ordeal of captivity and threats. But the judge reduced the term by three months because of Tsoi's good background and contribution to the profession.

In mitigation, defending barrister Jon Wong Kwok-ho said that Tsoi had recently received more than 100 mitigation letters from his customers, representatives from animal concern groups, other vets and residents living nearby.

He said Tsoi, who grew up on the mainland, was an 'extremely caring person' who adopted almost all the pets customers had abandoned at his clinic, making his home like a zoo. He did a lot of volunteer work and gave discounts to customers with financial problems.

Tsoi had wanted to become a vet since he was a child, studied veterinary science in Australia and graduated with first-class honours, Wong said. Tsoi would probably lose his qualification but would still hope to take care of animals by working as a nurse or farmer, the court heard.

Tsoi still needs to support his elderly parents, his younger sister, his wife and his seven-year-old boy, the court was told. Wong said Tsoi had already paid for his crime by losing his dream job and his future, pleading for a suspended sentence.

But a character assessment said Tsoi was self-centred, selfish and had a tendency to vent his anger on, and to try to control, women, the court heard. The judge said Tsoi would not offend again, but rejected his personal difficulties as reasons for a shorter sentence. He should have considered the consequences before committing the crimes, she said.

The judge said the jail term should reflect the severity of the crimes, given that Tsoi had ignored Chu's repeated demands to leave, the bodily harm she suffered and that Tsoi had repeatedly covered Chu's mouth when she shouted for help.