Illegals jailed 14 years for robbery and hostage-taking

TWO illegal immigrants who sneaked into Hongkong two days before robbing a taxi driver and holding a man hostage in a cold storage room were yesterday each sentenced to 14 years' jail.

Handing down the penalty on Lam Chi-piu, 25, and Yeung Chi-wai, 24, Deputy Judge Daniell held that the only mitigating factor was their guilty plea.

The two men admitted one count each of robbery, possession of a firearm at the time of the crime, conspiracy to rob and false imprisonment.

Yeung also pleaded guilty to another charge of false imprisonment.

The High Court had been told that three men, including Yeung and Lam robbed a taxi driver of $500 at gunpoint on January 17 last year in Tseung Kwan O.

They tied him to a tree and drove off in his taxi, which was later spotted by police in Kai Tung Road, near Kai Tak airport.


The trio abandoned the car and ran into the Swire Air Catering Services premises in the Cathay Pacific Airways building.

They dragged an employee, Mr Chow Kwok-wai, into a cold storage room where Lam took away his identity card and glasses with intent to use them as a disguise to help him escape.

But he was caught by police who had surrounded the building.

In the meantime, Mr Chow managed to slip away but Yeung immediately overpowered another staff member, Mr Ying Kai-cheung, and attempted to use him as a human shield to facilitate his escape. The attempt failed.


Under caution, they both admitted the offences. They also confessed that they hijacked the taxi with the intention of using it as a getaway car in a holdup planned for that evening.

Their counsel, Mr Wilson Chan, told the court Lam owed a loan-shark 30,000 yuan (HK$40,170) because of a gambling debt and Yeung had borrowed a similar amount from friends after his hairdressing business failed.


They sneaked into Hongkong with the hope of finding a job and had no idea that they would be asked to commit a robbery, Mr Chan said.

He said both men had a clear record.