THE High Court yesterday sentenced to death a salesman who strangled a nightclub hostess after robbing her. Mr Justice Leong also imposed a 15-year jail term on Chong Muk-lung for robbing eight hostesses, including murder victim Ms Lung Suet-ching, 21. Passing sentence, the judge said all the offences were committed after Chong took the victims out under the guise of wanting sex services. The repetition of the robberies over such a short period of time - between December 13 and 30, 1991 - indicated Chong had specialised in this kind of crime, he said. The judge said Chong took advantage of hostesses who provided him with sex services and such conduct was despicable. It was difficult not to describe Chong as a menace to society, and the public had to be protected from him, he said. Had he been found guilty of the robberies after trial, it would have called for an indefinite period of imprisonment as there was nothing in mitigation, Mr Justice Leong said. Anything less than 15 years' jail for the robberies would not be adequate to reflect the serious nature of the crimes, he said. Chong, 35, denied murdering Ms Lung but was found guilty by a jury. He pleaded guilty to eight counts of robbery and five of theft. The court heard that on each occasion, Chong took a nightclub hostess to a rented room in a villa, initially for sex. He had sex with all but one of the victims before threatening them with either a knife or paper cutter and robbing them of cash and valuables. He used the bank cards of three women to withdraw their money from auto-teller machines. Evidence brought out by senior Crown Counsel Mr Alain Sham in the murder trial indicated Ms Lung was the last of the eight hostesses involved. She was seen leaving a Tsim Sha Tsui nightclub with Chong on December 30, 1991. Her naked body was found bound and gagged in a room of a villa less than three hours later. In his defence, Chong admitted causing Ms Lung's death but said it was unintentional, claiming that she was still alive when he left the room. In mitigation, counsel Mr Chan Siu-ming said his client's co-habitant walked out on him some years ago, leaving him to look after a deaf daughter now 15 years old. He also had to support his elderly mother, and severe financial stress and pressure from loansharks drove him to commit the offences, counsel said. Chong was remorseful for what he had done, he said.