A Korean lawyer who grabbed the barrel of an airport policeman's machine gun after drinking half a bottle of whisky was jailed for 27 months yesterday.
Jang Youngsu, 42, was accused of trying to take the gun after being stopped from using the special immigration channel, the District Court heard.
He was convicted after trial on one count of attempting to possess a firearm without a licence.
Deputy Judge Timothy Casewell said he accepted the incident was out of character.
He also considered the fact that Jang could no longer practise as a lawyer in his country and he now faced bankruptcy.
"Nevertheless, an attempt to snatch such a weapon in the airport must involve a sentence of imprisonment," Casewell said.
The court heard that Jang came to Hong Kong with his wife and daughter on August 29 last year. As the immigration queues were all long he tried to use the special channel.
When an airport official asked the lawyer, who smelled of alcohol, to use other immigration counters, he threw his passport on the floor and asked the official to pick it up. He then spoke in a loud voice that caught the attention of airport police.
One officer armed with a machine gun approached Jang, who clutched the barrel of the gun. Three officers stopped him and he released the barrel.
Jang said he had drunk half a bottle of whisky on his flight to Hong Kong. He claimed he was using a Korean way of apologising by patting the officer's arm.
The judge rejected Jang's assertion that he had no intention of snatching the gun and had accidentally touched the barrel.
Lawyer Roger Wu said Jang could no longer practise law and would soon have to apply for bankruptcy.