A kiss is just a kiss, the High Court decided yesterday. It is not indecent assault. A modern-day kissing bandit found himself in the dock after he planted an unwelcome peck on an office clerk's cheek. North Kowloon magistrate Mary Yuen concluded that, in Chinese culture, a kiss constitutes indecent assault. But Mr Justice Thomas Gall disagreed. Yesterday he allowed the appeal of student Fong Chi-wai, 18, substituted a common assault charge and reduced his fine. The student accosted the 23-year-old victim as she was about to enter her Kowloon housing estate. He was on his way back from a night out, and was feeling reckless and slightly drunk, the court heard. When he spotted the pretty clerk outside his building, he couldn't resist kissing her on the left cheek. His frightened victim let out a shriek, attracting the attention of a pair of passing police constables. Fong ran off, but the officers caught him and later charged him with indecent assault. Fong admitted kissing the girl, but said alcohol was largely to blame. At first, he admitted the indecent assault charge. Then he tried to retract his plea, claiming that his actions did not qualify as indecent. He was convicted and fined $2,500, but Mr Justice Gall cut the fine to $1,000.