Burglar who bagged HK$900,000 worth of goods and cash in Hong Kong jailed for four years
Judge says she knows of no other burglary case involving bigger haul stolen from city homes
A debt-laden and crowbar-wielding delivery man was jailed for four years and eight months on Tuesday for burgling nine homes across Hong Kong to steal almost HK$900,000 in cash, jewellery and electronics.
Both the judge and the lawyers in the case said they could not find records of another burglary case involving higher total losses from Hong Kong homes.
Sentencing Loi Kan-chi at the High Court, Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay said the scale of his ill-gotten gains was one of the aggravating factors. “[He is] absolutely a professional criminal,” she said.
Loi, 33, pleaded guilty earlier in the day to seven counts of burglary and two of attempted burglary between May 2014 and January 2015. He broke into properties across Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories.
His co-defendant Wong Wai-leung, 36, also admitted a burglary charge, for his involvement in one of the break-ins.
Poon sentenced Wong to 26 months in jail, noting his record of burglaries, and his conspiracy with Loi.
One of the homes Loi burgled was on Broadcast Drive, Kowloon Tong, an upscale neighbourhood in Kowloon. There, he stole six watches, seven handbags, two mobile phones, 4,500 yuan in cash, three bank cards, and a large stash of jewellery, amounting to a value of HK$485,305.
He later teamed up with Wong for a heist at Oriental Gardens, a housing complex in Prince Edward, where they stole HK$52,000 worth of jewellery.
The court heard the value of all the belongings Loi stole was HK$899,185, and that he left marks on the doors of all the burgled properties, indicating he had pried them open with a crowbar.
Loi was arrested outside the Harbourview Horizon hotel, Hung Hom, on January 28, 2015. Police stormed one of the rooms, where Wong was also arrested.
In an interview with police, Loi admitted using a crowbar to open the doors of the properties and steal the goods.
In mitigation, his lawyer Annie Lai said Loi, who lived with his parents, had got addicted to gambling after falling in with friends who were a bad influence, and owed money.
“At the time, he was being harassed because he owed a lot of debt,” she said, adding that that was why he committed the crimes.
She said he was very remorseful and determined to turn his life around.
But Poon said she had to take certain factors into consideration in sentencing, including whether the convict has reoffended, whether the person used tools to break in, and whether there was a conspiratorial element to the crimes.