Robbers get five years in prison

TWO men who took part in a two-month robbery spree were each sentenced to five years' jail yesterday at the High Court.

In sentencing Lau Chi-yung and Lau Kin-wah, both 22 and unemployed, Deputy Judge Pang noted that each of the seven holdups was similar and he could see no mitigating factors apart from the pair's guilty pleas.

Lau Chi-yung had admitted seven counts of robbery while Lau Kin-wah had admitted four.

The court heard that between April and May last year, a series of robberies targeting love villas, shops and a clinic had taken place in Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui.

In each case, after members of the gang had entered the premises posing as customers, they threatened the occupants with knives and sometimes tied them up before robbing them of cash and valuables.

Counsel for the pair urged the court to impose concurrent sentences for the robberies because they had pleaded guilty.

Petrus Chan, for Lau Chi-yung, said his client was very remorseful and was willing to compensate the victims.

Lau Kin-wah's counsel, Albert Yau, said that since his arrest, Lau's wife had deserted him with their two-year-old son.

Since all the robberies had taken place in commercial and not domestic premises, the degree of invasion of privacy was a lesser one, Mr Yau said, pointing out that no victims had suffered any physical injury.