A mainlander who jumped into the passenger seat of a Porsche and robbed the driver of HK$2,000 was jailed for eight years yesterday.
Huang Shuai, 23, fired an airgun in an Admiralty car park just as lawyer Simon Yung Yun-sang, 54, was about to get out of the car.
Yung then turned to find a masked man sitting in the passenger seat, pointing a gun at him, prosecutor Lenny Cheng Sin-tsing told the Court of First Instance yesterday.
Yung, a partner at King & Wood Mallesons law firm and brother-in-law of columnist Benny Li Shun-yan, got out his wallet and Huang grabbed HK$2,000. A rubber bullet was later found in the car.
Huang was later caught by officers who found the airgun, a knife and a letter addressed to the police in which he expressed remorse for the crime.
The mainlander, who pleaded guilty to committing robbery on December 17 in Rodney Street, claimed he had planned to give himself up.
He also claimed his crime was inspired by the Hong Kong film Life Without Principle, and he had lain in wait in the car park for two days hoping to save someone from being robbed in order to get a reward. But nothing happened and, growing hungry, Huang decided to commit a robbery himself.
The judge rejected the story.
Sentencing him, Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai said Huang had come from the mainland intent on committing crime.
"The defendant came prepared to commit the offence ... It is clear that the money was not for filling his stomach," the judge said.
He added that while only a small sum of cash was involved, the crime was serious.
In accordance with guidelines, the judge took a starting point of 10 years' jail, added two for firing the gun and intent to harm, and reduced it by a third for the guilty plea.
The maximum jail sentence for robbery is life.
In 2009, the Court of Appeal reiterated that the sentencing starting point for armed robbery was 10 years' jail after finding that a manifestly inadequate starting point of six years was taken in a case where a robber had brandished a fake gun and snatched a bag. The robber was subdued by off-duty officers and the bag returned.