Confidence trickster Lam Charm-ning, who conned lonely people into joining a bogus friendship club, persuaded the Court of Appeal yesterday to slash his jail term by two years. Lam, 31, left a trail of theft and deception during almost five years of living by 'planned criminality', Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary said. His first scam was to apply for jobs and then steal from his bosses. Lam succeeded in stealing from 10 employers, including the Housing Department, escaping with a total of $180,000 cash and a Rolex watch. He then switched from theft to deception, hitting on the idea of setting up a friendship club. Lam told potential members they would be able to meet new friends. Six victims paid him sums of up to $1,800 before he disappeared. Lam was jailed for six years by Judge Clare-Marie Beeson last November after admitting 10 charges of theft and six of deception. Mr Justice Bokhary, Mr Justice Simon Mayo and Mr Justice Barry Mortimer ruled the sentence excessive and cut it to four.