Inmate 'bribed guard for roast goose, brandy'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 December, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 December, 1997, 12:00am

An armed robber who dreaded jail so much he slashed his throat in the dock nine months ago, bribed a guard into bringing him brandy and cigarettes to improve his 30-year stretch behind bars, a court heard yesterday.

Ho Yuk-wun, 37, was said to have paid Ng Lit-shing, an assistant officer at Stanley Prison, more than $30,000 in return for a drink, a smoke and roast goose legs. He also got letters delivered to a friend, Eastern Court heard.

'The court needs to realise that for someone in prison for 30 years, it is natural to wish for slightly better treatment,' Ho's lawyer, Chan Siu-ming, said. 'We should consider his feelings.' The prisoner was convicted after admitting bribing Mr Ng, who has not been prosecuted.

The pair were said to have become gambling buddies in the maximum security prison, with the prisoner ending up owing his guard $8,000 after they placed a joint bet on a horse and lost.

But in January last year, Ho insisted he could pay the debt if Mr Ng acted as his private postal service, the court heard. Mr Ng was allegedly given $3,000 for delivering a letter to one of Ho's friends.

Ho's taste became more extravagant. He was served brandy, cigarettes and roasted goose legs every other day by his helpful guard, magistrate David Lok was told.

The Correctional Services Department officer was said to have received between $13,000 and $15,000 for providing the treats.

But Ho's cell-improvement scam was uncovered when he attacked Mr Ng after a heated dispute.

Mr Lok told him: 'Your offences are very serious, especially when it involves the disciplinary departments.' Ho was sentenced to 10 months in jail in addition to his 30-year term for a string of previous offences, mostly armed robberies.

The illegal immigrant was jailed by the High Court in 1993 for 26 years for the robberies. He received a further two years for attacking his arch-enemy after they ended up in the same jail last year.

Ho cut his throat while standing in the dock at District Court and sang patriotic Chinese songs in March after he was convicted of wounding three prison officers - including Mr Ng.