A rogue stockbroker who stole shares worth more than $21 million from two trusting clients was jailed for six years yesterday as a judge warned that commercial crime would no longer be allowed to pay. Koon Yee-poon, 44, whose case was compared to that of notorious Barings Bank trader Nick Leeson, sold the shares to fund his own disastrous speculation on the market. 'Gone are the days when sentences for what is euphemistically called 'white-collar crime' are so low that they present no punishment which is effective and no deterrent to others who may be tempted to commit similar offences,' Deputy Judge Gareth Lugar-Mawson said. No longer will sentences be so lenient that 'the rewards of crime far outweigh the punishment', he added. The judge said a maximum 10-year sentence was appropriate but reduced it to six years because of Koon's previous good character and pleas of guilty. After the hearing, the sentence was welcomed by Detective Senior Inspector Iain Johnston from the Commercial Crime Bureau. 'I hope this puts the message across to all the other stockbrokers not to step out of line,' he said. The judge's warning came at a time of concern over rising commercial crime. 'It is good timing because of the current climate. Hopefully now, I won't get so many cases because the stockbrokers will not do it,' Senior Inspector Johnston said, adding there was still a perception that financial crimes committed by professionals would be treated leniently. Koon admitted 18 charges of stealing shares worth $14.6 million from businessman Lau Kuet-hian, 65, and shares worth $6.6 million from widow Cheung Fung-sin, 68. But the court heard the losses may be much higher. The company which employed Koon, Okachi Investments (HK), has agreed to pay Ms Cheung $12.85 million in compensation. Mr Lau is claiming $26.7 million, and is still negotiating with the firm. Deputy Judge Lugar-Mawson said Koon's crimes amounted to 'a wholesale breach of trust'. He described the case as 'one of the worst examples of theft by a professional man I have ever encountered'. Koon's career was now over and he would never find work as a professional again. 'You must have known those consequences would have been the inevitable ones once you were found out. 'You only have yourself to blame,' the judge said.