US sailors acquitted of hotel robbery

TWO American sailors were yesterday acquitted of robbing an Air New Guinea flight steward in a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel.

Rickie Ashcraft, 20, and Travis Garber, 22, who had both denied a charge of robbery, were found not guilty by Magistrate Bina Chainrai at South Kowloon Court.

Ms Chainrai said she had serious doubts about the credibility of some of flight attendant Josephenk Awuki's evidence, especially over identification.

The court heard that Mr Awuki had only viewed the two defendants for a few seconds in the doorway of his dimly-lit room.

It was alleged the pair had entered Mr Awuki's room in the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, Nathan Road, in the early hours of last Tuesday, and robbed him of US$181 (about HK$1,400) and 135 Papua New Guinea kina (about HK$1,000) - the proceeds of inflight duty-free takings which Mr Awuki had been holding.