'Glass in noodles' diner sentenced

A DINER who said he found glass in his noodles and demanded $20,000 in compensation was yesterday sent to a detention centre.

Apprentice Lee Wah-ka, 22, who denied the charge in the District Court, was convicted two weeks ago of blackmail.

He was cleared of damaging the glass doors of the restaurant and making off without paying $141.

Passing sentence, Judge Muttrie accepted that Lee may have found glass in his noodles, but said the amount of compensation demanded was obviously much greater than any suffering - if any - felt by the diner.

Prosecutor James McGowan said Lee complained of finding a glass fragment in his breakfast at Samuel's Restaurant, Ap Lei Chau, on April 10 last year.

Waiter Ng Chung-fai apologised and offered a new bowl of noodles, but Lee and his three friends were not satisfied. They threatened to notify the Urban Services Department, the court was told. When the group left the restaurant, one of them smashed the glass doors, but the judge did not establish who was responsible. The group also allegedly failed to pay the bill.

Later Lee demanded $20,000 from proprietor Fong Wai-wo and asked him to swallow the glass fragments of the doors which had been broken, the court heard.

The defendant's friends Lee Pei-keung, 19, Lee Choi-chun, 29, and Chung Fook, 24, were all acquitted of blackmail after they denied the charge.

Lee Pei-keung was further found not guilty of making off without paying.