A taxi driver who stole a pair of brand-name sandals and a watch from his mainland passengers was put on probation for a year yesterday after a magistrate heard he had previously handed in luxury items left in his car.
"It's worth giving you a chance, I hope this will benefit your family and society," Magistrate Abu Bakar bin Wahab told Hon So-man, 50, in Kowloon City Court.
Hon had pleaded guilty to stealing the items, together worth more than HK$160,000.
The court heard he found the Patek Philippe watch and the pair of Gucci children's sandals in his car boot after the passengers, a former People's Liberation Army soldier and his wife, got out of his taxi on July 3.
The passengers told police when they reported the items missing that they suspected Hon already had his eye on the goods when they got into his cab. But there was no evidence to show he knew about them before he found them in the car boot.
Accepting the probation officer's suggestion about the sentence, Wahab imposed conditions including home visits and the possibility of re-sentencing if Hon offended again within the one-year term.
He said he took into consideration Hon's guilty plea and remorse, but said he could face jail if he offended in future.
Hon had earlier been ordered to perform 100 hours of community service after he overcharged an undercover police officer about HK$400 last year.
Senior Counsel Arthur Luk Yee-shun said Hon was an otherwise honest person. In June this year and May last year, he had handed in passengers' lost property including a Gucci bag, a pair of Gucci shoes, a ring in a Chow Tai Fook box and a wallet.
In the trial case, the watch was returned and Hon will pay HK$1,850 for the sandals.