Debt man 'helped dump loan shark'

A MAN in debt to a loan shark took part in assaulting him and throwing him down an embankment into a rubbish dump, the High Court heard.

Chan Tin-hok, 24, denied murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Mr Justice Leong sentenced Chan to six years in jail.

Chan was arrested two months after the incident when a computer check revealed that a lighter belonging to the dead man, Chan Kai-leung, 25, was pawned by another suspect.

Two co-accused, Wong Kwok-yan, 22, unemployed, and factory worker Li Tak-fai, 24, received six-year jail terms for manslaughter last week.

Mr Justice Leong said there was no distinction between Chan Tin-hok's role and that of the other two defendants.

Senior Crown counsel Mr John McMaster told the court that Chan Tin-hok and Wong owed a considerable amount of money to the loan shark.

They were unable to pay.

Li did not owe money, but became a party to the assault and robbery purely for monetary gain, counsel said.

Wong invited the loan shark to his flat in Hang On Estate, Ma On Shan, on December 8, 1991. Chan Tin-hok hid in a bedroom while Wong took Chan Kai-leung into a second bedroom ostensibly to get money hidden under a bed.

Chan Kai-leung was hit on the head with a chair leg, Mr McMaster said. He was semi-conscious and his hands and feet were tied.

Further assaults took place and he became unconscious, the court heard. The defendants then stole $15,000, rings and a lighter.

He was put in the front seat of his car, driven to an area near the estate and thrown down an embankment into a rubbish dump. His car was taken back to the estate.

Chan Kai-leung's girlfriend, Ms Ho Siu-ying, knew he was going to see Wong to collect debts. She tried to page him when she became concerned.

Ms Ho made a report to Tsuen Wan police. A few days later she went to the estate with others and found the victim's car.

She went to see Wong, who denied harming Chan Kai-leung. He said he had paid his debt of $15,000 to Chan Kai-leung, who had then left.

Wong was questioned by police four times during a six-week period but denied any criminal conduct, Mr McMaster said.

A breakthrough in the case occurred on January 31 when a computer check revealed that a lighter had been pawned by Wong.

Ms Ho identified the lighter as being owned by her missing boyfriend. Wong was picked up for questioning again and a confession was made in which he named Chan Tin-hok and Li.

Chan Tin-hok led police to Chan Kai-leung's body at the foot of the embankment.

A post mortem examination failed to discover the cause of death as the body was in an advanced stage of decomposition.