A man was jailed for life yesterday at the end of his retrial for the killing of a 25-year-old father with an umbrella stand in a gang attack four years ago at a McDonald's restaurant in Tin Shui Wai.
A Court of First Instance jury found Ng Pak-lun, 22, guilty by a 5-2 verdict of murdering Poon Ka-yan on October 5, 2008, in a brutal beating that involved eight other men.
One of the assailants, 26-year-old Lam Siu-fung, who was arrested after Ng's first conviction in 2010, was also found guilty of murder. Lam, who had been on the run since the attack, was tried alongside Ng in the retrial.
They were among nine men who attacked the transport worker with metal rods, an umbrella stand and plastic bread trays.
The attack followed an argument Poon had earlier that day with Ng, his girlfriend and their friends. Poon was a friend of the ex-boyfriend of Ng's girlfriend, the court heard.
Ng and Lam wept as the judge, Mr Justice Michael McMahon, gave them automatic life sentences for the murder.
A retrial was ordered for Ng in 2011 after the Court of Appeal quashed his first conviction because a court interpreter omitted some words while translating the trial judge's direction from English to Cantonese.
The judge directed the jury that they should find Ng guilty only if they were sure that he intended the victim some 'really serious bodily harm', but it was wrongly translated to 'some degree of bodily harm'.
The mistake cost an estimated HK$500,000, excluding the cost of the retrial.
Two other assailants, Cheung Kwok-ho and Bo Ka-shing, now 19 and 25, were jailed in 2010 for four years and five-and-a-half years, respectively, after they pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The five remaining assailants are still at large. Poon is survived by a son, who is now eight.
The court had heard that on the day of the attack, Ng called a gang of eight men to confront the victim in the McDonald's at the Tin Shui shopping centre at about 3am.
After a heated verbal exchange, they snatched a rod Poon had been using to defend himself. They pushed him to the floor and kicked him repeatedly, as others beat him with plastic bread trays. One of the assailants, who is on the run, struck Poon with the rod. Ng later told the others to stand back as he struck Poon's head twice with an umbrella stand. Poon died of multiple head injuries.
The estimated weight in kilograms of the umbrella stand that murderer Ng Pak-lun used to beat the head of victim Poon Ka-yan