Fugitive arrested over acid attack

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2011, 12:00am


A man allegedly involved in an acid attack on a Hong Kong prosecutor, which shocked the legal community two years ago, has been arrested on the mainland after being at large for two years.

The 29-year-old man, surnamed So, will appear in Eastern Court today. He was returned to Hong Kong by mainland police on Friday after having been arrested by the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau earlier this month.

He is charged with conspiracy to throw corrosive fluid with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to barrister Neil Mitchell, who was prosecuting a criminal case at the time.

Six people involved in the attack were jailed earlier this year.

Mitchell, then 52, was prosecuting a money laundering and fraud case when he was attacked during the lunchbreak outside the District Court in Wan Chai on October 27, 2009. A brownish-black liquid - later found to be diluted sulphuric acid - was thrown in his face.

The attack continued as more acid was splashed onto his shirt while Mitchell tried to wipe off the liquid.

A paper cup, believed to have contained the liquid, was later found in a nearby rubbish bin.

Six men, including the mastermind, were caught in December 2009, but So fled to the mainland, police said.

'Officers of the organised crime and triad bureau took over the case for investigation, and the mainland's bureau was asked to assist in locating the man,' a police statement said.

So was returned to Hong Kong police at the Huanggang border checkpoint on Friday.

Police would not say if other fugitives in the case are at large or give any further details, because the investigation is continuing.

Six men, aged between 19 and 44, were jailed for 10 to 12 years in April. During sentencing, Madam Justice Clare-Marie Beeson called the attack on Mitchell 'vicious, cold-blooded and calculated'.

The culprits initially considered attacking Mitchell with choppers but later decided to use acid instead. Three of the men were paid HK$30,000 each for the attack.

One of the jailed men, Lam Wai-sai, 21, had been jailed for manslaughter in an unrelated case and was released in January 2009, eight months before the attack.

The Bar Association said the attack struck at the core of the justice system.

Mitchell suffered damage to the cornea of his left eye, his ear and cheek. He was under police protection during his three days in hospital.

His injuries had fully stabilised by January last year, with his vision intact.

At the time of the attack, he was prosecuting a case against solicitor Kevin Kong Hon-yui, who was jailed for six years in December 2009 for conspiracy to launder money and to defraud in a scam involving HK$10.9 million in mortgages in 2005 and 2006.