A drug addict who attacked four strangers in a two-day chopping spree in Tseung Kwan O last year was jailed for five years yesterday.
Kwan Ping-wai, 31, a decorator, who had been hooked on the methamphetamine commonly known as Ice for 10 years, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to four counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The Court of First Instance heard Kwan assaulted the men on the Po Lam and Hau Tak housing estates, at the Metro City Plaza II mall and at the Hau Tak Shopping Centre on October 2 and 3 last year.
He did not know the victims - Lam Hing-nam, 53, Chan Tsz-kit, 18, Tung Kwai-hin, 50, and Wong Chi-hong, 46, who he attacked while they were walking or waiting for buses. Kwan claimed to have mental and behavioural problems as a result of his use of Ice.
He said he suffered from delusions that led him to believe he was being persecuted.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Peter Line said Kwan made the choice to take the drugs and could not rely on the effects of the drugs as a defence for attacking the victims.
Line passed a sentence of five years' imprisonment on the count relating to the attack on the most seriously wounded victim, Chan, whose left arm was cut to the bone, leaving him with limited movement in his hand and fingers.
Line passed jail terms of three years each for the attacks on the three other men, to run concurrently. They sustained wounds to various parts of their bodies.
Line told Kwan he should realise the problems his drug use was causing, and warned he risked a much longer sentence if he offended again.
Kwan had previous convictions for assault, drugs and other offences.
Police faced criticism at the time of Kwan's attack as they did not release details of the crime for six days, angering the public, the media and politicians.
The Journalists' Association said police had put public safety at risk and wrote to Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung asking for an explanation. The pressure group Human Rights Monitor expressed disappointment about the delay in warning the public.
In the wake of the incident, police promised to conduct a review of the operation, with a view to securing a balance between the public's right to know and police operational needs.
The case is the latest involving drug-fuelled acts of violence to come before the courts. Last week, ketamine addict Chan Chun-tat, 24, was jailed for eight years for grabbing his wife by the neck, stabbing her repeatedly with a screwdriver and trying to hack her with a breadknife at their village house in She Shan Tsuen, Tai Po, on June 14 last year.
The two cases prompted renewed warnings from medics about the dangers of narcotics.