A HIGH Court judge yesterday reduced the sentence of a man who found eight mainland members of his family, including his mother, on his doorstep after they came to the territory illegally. Sze Yi-shing's counsel, Andrew Macrae, said it was hard enough to expect someone to turn away any family member, but ''it would require remarkable fortitude to turn away eight members of your family, one of whom was your own mother''. ''It would be interesting to ask the man in the street, which is the more reprehensible - to turn your own mother away or to break the law by allowing her to stay,'' Mr Macrae said. Sze, 26, the owner of a goldsmith's workshop, had pleaded guilty in San Po Kong Court to aiding and abetting his 53-year-old mother, two sisters, a brother, two uncles and two cousins to remain in the territory illegally and was sentenced to 15 months' jail on April 3. Mr Justice Kaplan yesterday allowed an appeal against sentence and reduced the term to 12 months suspended for two years. Mr Macrae had appealed on the ground that the magistrate failed to take into account the illegal immigrants were Sze's blood relatives. For at least 15 years, that factor had been honoured enough to amount to a justification for departing from the normal sentencing tariff. He said there had been no exploitation involved in the case. Mr Justice Kaplan told Sze he would be wise to resist the temptation to assist any relatives, however close the relationship. Describing the case as a tragic but unfortunately common one, the judge said the law took a harsh view of such matters. But he sympathised with Sze. ''No court can have anything but the greatest sympathy for the appellant. What is he to do - turn over his own family and put them in prison or put them up and hope all will be well in due time?'' The judge accepted there was no suggestion of exploitation or receipt of money. He found the original 15-month sentence was too harsh and did not reflect substantial mitigating factors, including the blood relationship. Sze's mother and younger sister were stopped by police in Hunghom on April 1 this year. They admitted being illegal immigrants and sneaking into Hong Kong on a wooden fishing boat a few days earlier. A raid on Sze's Hunghom workshop netted the rest of the family. The eight family members, aged between 15 and 53, were jailed for between six and 15 months.