A man was jailed for life yesterday for the murder of his father as details emerged of how he lured his accomplice, who was also given a life sentence, into attacking his parents.
A seven-member jury took less than five hours to unanimously find Ian Lee Christoffer Fok Lap-yin, 21, guilty of the murder of his father and attempted murder of his mother after a Court of First Instance trial.
His former schoolmate, Chan Ming-tin, also 20, had pleaded guilty to a murder charge at the start of the trial.
Fok had argued that he had developed multiple personalities, one of which believed his parents were aliens and plotted with Chan to kill them. Expert witnesses were split on his mental health.
In mitigation, Chan's counsel, John Hemmings, described how his client was "manipulated" and "groomed" by Fok into killing Fok Lai-chi, 50, and stabbing Irene Fok, 40, at the family home in Pak Heung, Yuen Long, on March 16 last year.
Hemmings told the court Chan started to admire and become close to Ian Fok after he was told he was a "martial arts swordsman". Not only did Fok tell Chan that he was trained in Kendo swordsmanship in Japan, he was also willing to train his client.
Chan became particularly excited when he was told he could be even better at the martial art than Fok himself, the court heard.
When Irene Fok was woken on the night of the attack, she was confronted by her son holding her at knifepoint while wearing a Kendo-style mask, the court earlier heard.
Hemmings said his client was still under the influence of Fok when he was interviewed by police, and that Fok had tried to persuade Chan to plead not guilty.
"My client has always had the intention to plead guilty," he added.
Describing his client as a "polite and courteous" person who felt "deep remorse" for what he had done, Hemmings said the two defendants had not been close at school, but reconnected after they ran into each other after graduating. Had he not fallen under Fok's influence, Chan "would have lived, almost certainly, an ordinary life".
Hemmings said he was not seeking to diminish Chan's culpability. Rather, he wanted to show that his client was not a threat to society in the hope it would help Chan should his jail term be reviewed in future.
Peter Cahill, representing Fok, asked for a psychiatric report, with a view to having a fixed, rather than life, term. Judge Mr Justice Peter Line rejected the idea.
Sentencing the pair, Line said that even though Fok did not physically carry out the crime, he had planned it. His mother survived only "by chance".
As for Chan, Line said: "Your release day will be in the hands of others."