• Fri
  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 2:38am
NewsHong Kong

Ten years' jail too little for serial sex offender: judge

Judge says maximum penalty may need changing after sex offender strikes again

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 5:45am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 2014, 5:45am

A High Court judge yesterday urged the Department of Justice to research the penalties for repeat sexual offenders overseas, saying Hong Kong's 10-year maximum was not enough to punish a serial attacker who molested a schoolgirl just 15 days after his last release from prison.

Peter Cheung Kwok-yip, 35, admitted in the Court of First Instance that he indecently assaulted the girl, then 11, on August 31 last year, telling her to shut up if she did not want to die.

"The maximum sentence is insufficient in this case," Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping said. "I think it is time to look at Cheung's case closely. It is not only to help him but also to prevent him from causing danger to society."

The court heard that Cheung had six previous convictions, including four for indecent assault or similar charges between 2002 and 2009, all of which he admitted and for which he was sentenced to jail terms ranging from 28 months to 61/2 years.

In the most recent case, the judge adopted the maximum penalty, 10 years, as a starting point, but reduced the term for Cheung's guilty plea. He was released on August 16.

Toh asked prosecutor Claudia Ng to research other jurisdictions' penalties for similar offenders and see if the law needed changing. She adjourned sentencing to May 7 for background and psychiatric reports.

The court heard that the victim was walking home to Fuk Wa Street, in Sham Shui Po when Cheung grabbed her neck from behind and dragged her to a staircase.

He told her to shut up if she did not want to die, asked for her name and address, then hugged her from behind, grabbing her breast with his left hand and putting his right hand on her stomach.

He hugged her for about 30 seconds before the girl seized an opportunity and fled.

She told her father what happened when she arrived home. A report was made to the police and Cheung was arrested on September 5 last year.

Cheung told the police he saw the victim on the street and decided to follow her as he could not control himself.


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This article is now closed to comments

how does increasing the maximum to more than 10 years ensures non-recurrence of the offence?
say if it is increased to 15 years.......can the judge guarantee the pervert wont offend again once he is released?
Now that the pervert has reoffended, just throw him back in jail for another 10 years....that should suffice , surely.
It is important judges do not yield to their emotions as Ms Toh has in this case. If the report is reliable, this fiend did not physically harm his unfortunate victims. If she thinks 10 years insufficient for him, what sort of terms would that lead to for more serious offenders? If, say, she thinks he should get 20 years, then 30 for someone bruising his victim? 40 for one causing grievous bodily harm? 50 for rape with violence? 60 for murder, I suppose.


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