Government blamed as serial molester gets just six years jail
A High Court judge says the Department of Justice and lawmakers must act immediately to extend maximum prison terms for repeat sexual offenders after she could only impose a sentence of six years and eight months on a man who molested an 11-year-old girl just 15 days after he was released from prison.
Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping described the situation as an "emergency".
"My hands are tied," Toh said as she delivered the sentence to Peter Cheung Kwok-yip, 35, for one count of indecent assault. It is the fifth sexual offence Cheung has committed since 2002.
The maximum sentence for indecent assault is 10 years, Toh said, but she had to deduct a third of that as Cheung pleaded guilty.
She quoted a report prepared by prosecutor Claudia Ng Cheuk-hwa that confirmed there was no statutory system for adding more jail time for persistent sexual offenders. In the UK, Canada and Australia, special provisions allow judges to impose extended sentences on "dangerous offenders", she said.
The court heard that Cheung had six previous convictions including for four indecent assault offences involving schoolgirls between 2002 and 2009.
Two psychiatrists said that Cheung was a sexual sadist and a paedophile who had a serious personality disorder and felt no sympathy for his victims. In 2006, Cheung was described in court as a psychopath who did not respond to therapy.
His last release was in mid-August last year. On August 31, he followed and molested an 11-year-old girl in Sham Shui Po.