Probation for pupil who stole boy's wallet during exam in Sha Tin

Court hands lenient sentence to teenager whose widowed mother's on welfare

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2012, 3:36am

A secondary school student who stole another student's wallet while both of them were sitting their Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education exams this year was put on one year's probation yesterday.

Ho Cheng-man, 18, who had pleaded guilty to theft, was handed the probation order by Sha Tin Court.

The court heard that Ho suffered from hyperactivity disorder. Her father had died and her mother was on social security assistance. She did not have a job and would be starting a Project Yi Jin continuing education course later.

"The sentence is lenient, as this is your first offence, but the crime is serious when compared with shoplifting," Principal Magistrate Andrew Ma Hon-cheung told Ho.

The court heard that during the HKDSE English listening and integrated skills examination on March 31, Ho, who was at the exam centre in Baptist Lui Ming Choi Secondary School in Sha Tin, stole the wallet of a boy sitting in front of her from under his chair.

She shifted the wallet towards her with her foot and knelt down to pick it up while the exam papers were being collected.

The boy later reported his wallet as missing and police checked CCTV records. Another student sitting beside both of them witnessed the crime.

Ho denied the offence under police caution and said she knelt down to pick up a dropped pen.

The court ordered Ho to repay HK$1,900 to the boy within six months.

The wallet, valued at HK$1,000, contained HK$800 in cash, an Octopus card, a Hang Seng Bank card, the boy's Diocesan Boys' School student card, and an Ocean Park annual pass.

Ho said yesterday and during a previous hearing that she was unable to repay the money immediately.

The court told Ho to seek specialist treatment for her emotional problems. Her daily life, school and work would be monitored by a probation officer, Ma said.

Ho was not represented by a lawyer and attended the hearing alone on Wednesday. Her mother was not feeling well and her older brother was not at home.