Acid attack plotters jailed for 12 years

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 3:21pm
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2012, 3:22pm

Two men involved in a plot to throw highly corrosive acid at a lawyer, to stop him from prosecuting a case, were jailed for 12 years at the Court of First Instance on Friday.

So Ka-wai, 30, and Chan Lap-tak, 35, each pleaded guilty to a count of conspiring to throw corrosive liquid with the intent of grievously injuring barrister Neil Mitchell on October 27, 2009.

Mitchell was then the prosecutor in a District Court criminal case against lawyer Kevin Kong Hon-yui, who was later jailed for six years for money laundering and fraud.

The imprisonment of So and Chan increased to eight the number of people jailed in connection with the attack. In April last year, six men, aged between 19 and 44, were jailed for 10 to 12 years.

On Friday, Mrs Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling called the attack “serious and despicable”, and a “cold-blooded attack on a stranger”.

“This case is particularly serious because the aim of the attack is to stop the victim from appearing in court in his capacity as a prosecutor,” Barnes said.

She said such a serious attack deserved a deterrent sentence.

The judge adopted 18 years in jail as the starting point for sentencing, reducing it by one-third to reflect the two men’s pleas.

The court heard that So and Chan were not the masterminds, but they recruited people to carry out the attack. They fled to the mainland after they knew police were arresting people involved in it.

The two were arrested when they returned to the city in November last year.

Mitchell, then 52, was prosecuting a money laundering and fraud case when he was attacked during the lunch break, outside the District Court in Wan Chai, on October 27, 2009.

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 2010, with his vision intact.