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Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong rapist who researched robbing prostitutes online jailed for 11 years

Before attacking a sex worker and stealing her phone, Gary Leung searched for ‘robbery clues’ and ‘robbing one-woman brothels’ on his phone

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 4:44pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 9:40pm

A married man was jailed for 11 years on Thursday after a jury unanimously found him guilty of raping and robbing a prostitute at knifepoint last December.

Gary Leung Ka-wai, a 37-year-old clerk, had used his phone to search for terms such as “rape DNA” and “robbing one-woman brothels” before the attack, and tracked the police investigation’s progress online after it.

Madam Justice Maggie Poon Man-kay called the attack “vile” and “shameful”. She gave Leung, who had denied both charges, a deterrent sentence.

Leung – thin, bespectacled and wearing a pale beige suit – showed no expression in the dock, while his family watched from the public gallery.

It was not until the judge confiscated his iPhone 6S Plus, which he had used for his criminal research, that he flashed a look of anger and began to protest.

But the judge retorted: “Shut up.”

The High Court heard that Leung visited his 34-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at a one-woman brothel in Tsuen Wan on December 1 last year.

As soon as he entered her room, he put a foot-long knife to her throat and told her not to move or make a noise.

He said he would not harm her, but went on to push her onto the bed, tying her wrists and ankles. When she struggled, he flashed the blade again.

Frightened, the woman cried and asked him not to hurt her. But Leung stuffed a towel in her mouth and raped her.

When someone outside rang the doorbell, Leung asked the woman where she kept her money, and snatched HK$1,600, along with her Samsung S6 smartphone, before fleeing the scene.

A neighbour, who had heard the commotion from next door, called the police. A forensic officer later found the woman had red marks on her wrists and ankles.

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Police released a CCTV image of the attacker, and got a call from someone who recognised him.

Upon his arrest four days after the crime, Leung told officers: “I went there to play. She agreed to play a game of rape with me if I pay her HK$1,600. I did not rob her.”

But when police searched his iPhone, they found that Leung had done online research just hours before he went to the brothel.

The search terms included: “the daily profit of one-woman brothels”, “robbery clues”, “police investigation basis”, “rape DNA” and “robbing one-woman brothels”.

After leaving the brothel, he looked up “Tsuen Wan robbery”, “Tsuen Wan rape” and “police trace”, in an apparent attempt to track the aftermath of – and investigation into – his attack.

He also searched for “unlock S6 edge plus”, referring to the brand of phone he had stolen.

On Thursday, a jury of three men and four women returned the unanimous verdicts after less than an hour of deliberating. They found him guilty of one count of rape and one of robbery.

Defence lawyer Tommy Ho said in mitigation that the violence, injuries and loss of property suffered by the victim had been small, and noted that his client had used a condom during the attack.

But the judge condemned Leung for exploiting the vulnerability of prostitutes, who she said might be reluctant to report attacks, for fear of exposing their identities.

She said the 11-year sentence she handed down was intended as a deterrent to others.

Poon also criticised Leung for failing to admit his crime, forcing his victim to relive her pain in court.

“The defendant was not only perverted and greedy ... his conduct was basically shameful,” she said.