Decorator found guilty of firing ball bearings at flats using air pressure gun

Judge says decorator had both ability and motive to spray flats with ball bearings

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 6:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 3:58am

A decorator used a homemade airgun to spray five flats in Yuen Long with ball bearings in a row over an unpaid HK$30,000 bill, a judge ruled yesterday.

Choy Sim-kit, 48, had denied six charges of criminal damage, one of common assault and one of illegally possessing a firearm, but Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on told the District Court the defendant had both the "motive" and "ability" to commit the offences.

He rejected as "illogical" Choy's claims that he had been in the area to clean his van or drink without his wife finding out.

The court earlier heard that flats at Pearl House and Chun Chu House had been fired at on March 30 and 31 last year. A passer-by was hit, but was not hurt.

Police arrested Choy in a van parked opposite the two buildings, the court heard. He had more than 300 ball bearings and was looking at Pearl House through binoculars.

Choy had done decorating work for the resident of one of the five flats and a HK$30,000 bill had not been paid, the court heard. He had used decorating equipment to assemble the weapon used to fire the ball bearings, the prosecution alleged.

Prosecutor George Chu Fung-chee earlier told the court: "Choy was arrested in a location which was within the firing range of the two buildings."

The defence had argued that Choy was in the van to do some cleaning, but Kwok said the van had been far from tidy when it was approached by police.

Choy also claimed he had been there to drink without alerting his wife, but he also told the court his wife was on the mainland at the time, the judge noted.

Kwok adjourned sentencing until August 29.

By law, an air gun that produces more than two joules of power is considered a firearm.

While sometimes considered no more than toys, the use of airguns has caused alarm in recent months.

In the most recent case a week ago today, an 83-year-old man was shot in the chest with a powerful airgun as he strolled down a street in Ho Man Tin.

Police later confiscated six air rifles and three air pistols from the house of a 40-year-old security guard. The guard was arrested but has not been charged and was released on bail.

In May, a university graduate was jailed for four years and eight months for using an airgun in a failed attempt to rob a convenience store to pay his student debts. In March, a 14-year-old boy was admitted to hospital after being shot eight times at close range during a wargame at a centre in Kwun Tong.