Nine men jailed for staging a gangland tribute to the slain leader of a faction of one of Hong Kong's most powerful triad gangs - the Sun Yee On - had their appeal thrown out yesterday.
Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung, in the Court of First Instance, dismissed the appeal filed by the men who were convicted in Kowloon City Court in January of acting like, or claiming to be members of the Sun Yee On.
The nine were arrested for holding a ritual at Argyle Street Playground in Kowloon City on August 27, 2010, to honour late faction leader Lee Tai-lung, nicknamed the Baron of Tsim Sha Tsui East. They were jailed for between eight and 11 months.
Lee was chopped to death by rival gangsters from the Wo Shing Wo triad group as he stepped out of his Mercedes-Benz at the Kowloon Shangri-La hotel early one morning in August 2009.
Among the nine were Lam Sai-hop, 56, a businessman with investments in movie production, and faction leader Law Ka-fai, 37, both of whom were jailed for 11 months.
Li said that in convicting the nine, the court had not made a blanket allegation that taking part in rituals during the Hungry Ghost Festival was a triad activity.
But the group knew they were paying tribute to a dead member of a triad.
The anniversary of Lee's death coincided with the festival.
Evidence showed that the nine prepared fruit hampers, roasted pork and incense and paper offerings for the rite.
The judge said Magistrate Johnny Chan Jong-herng was reasonable in concluding that the nine were taking part in triad activities, taking into account their conversation in the playground and the situation during the ritual.
Li said the magistrate had adopted an appropriate starting point in considering the length of the jail terms and he would not interfere.
Their arrests came after a police officer went undercover, infiltrating the East Tsim Sha Tsui faction of the Sun Yee On for several months to expose them.
The magistrate had said Lam used the ritual tribute gathering to bolster his position within the gang. Eight others were convicted of acting as if they were triad members and were given jail terms of between eight and nine months.
The other appellants were Man Pui-ying, Cheng Man-kit, Au Chi-hang, Tong Wah-ming, Chan Wai-yiu, Wong Yuk-fung and Cheung Tung-wah.