Two mainland illegal immigrants were jailed for 21 months yesterday after they pleaded guilty to stealing valuable 'fung shui' trees.
The two men, aged 20 and 23, were arrested on December 5 when officers from Wong Tai Sin police station, disguised as hikers, conducted an operation against the theft of the protected Buddhist pine trees in the coastal areas of Yin Tsz Ngam and Kei Kok Tau in Sai Kung.
During the surveillance, the two mainlanders were seen among 10 men on a beach, by the Yin Tsz Ngam hillside, where there were 15 felled trees and a number of tools, including an iron bar, two pairs of pliers and two saws.
Kwun Tong Court heard yesterday that all the men were seen moving the conifers. The two defendants were arrested as the officers approached but the other suspects managed to escape. During the arrest, the younger defendant was found dragging two Buddhist pine trees, the court heard.
The two men were later charged with assisting in exporting undeclared cargo, remaining in Hong Kong without the authority of the director of immigration and going equipped for stealing. The pair pleaded guilty to all charges.