Nurse to pay HK$946,000 for six years of harassment
A nurse who subjected her ex-boyfriend to a six-year campaign of harassment was ordered yesterday to pay him almost HK$1 million in compensation.
Joey Yip Lai-kuen, 34, whose desperate efforts for a reunion inspired a movie, was also restrained by an injunction from harassing or contacting Lau Tat-wai, 30, and his family. She was also barred from going within 30 metres of his or his family's flat and his workplace.
"The wrongs committed by the defendant against the plaintiff over the course of nearly six years have made a misery of a young man's life and, by any standard, are outrageous," Mr Justice Anthony Chan Kin-keung wrote, ordering Yip to pay HK$946,673.
Lau, a former engineer, told the High Court that Yip had stalked him, bombarded him with calls and messages and recruited debt collectors to splash red paint not only on the gate of his flat but also on his mother.
She also circulated missing person notices of Lau online and distributed posters describing Lau as having Aids.
It drove him to stay in Japan for a time, and his mother and brother moved to Shenzhen for two months.
The court heard that the two met in a Japanese language class in 2007. They quickly developed a relationship but Lau decided to end it after four months.
"Yip did not want to do so, and when she did not have her way the nightmare for Lau began," the judge wrote.
From August 2007, Yip called and sent text messages to Lau and sent malicious e-mails to Lau, his friends and colleagues. She hacked into Lau's e-mail account and downloaded contacts.
Yip made 120 calls and sent 80 text messages in an hour to Lau's mobile phone and his company line. She hired a private investigator to monitor Lau while also personally stalking him. On one occasion, she appeared uninvited on a plane when Lau and his family were returning to Hong Kong after a trip to Shanghai.
Yip also bought and moved into a flat in the building where Lau lived so she could monitor him through the building's surveillance cameras.
She deactivated his bank cards and also made a false report to police accusing Lau of stealing from her, which caused his arrest.
Lau became depressed, and said he developed a phobia about the telephone ringing.
"Whilst I have a good deal of sympathy for Yip because her actions demonstrate that she is in need of help, I cannot ignore the misery which she has caused to Lau," the judge wrote.
Yip did not attend the hearing.