A ROYAL Navy patrolman found a man in the boot of a Mercedes-Benz on board a smuggling boat, the District Court heard yesterday. Farm worker Wong Koon-kwan, 18, was jailed for 31/2 years for handling stolen goods. He had denied the charge. He was also convicted of assisting with the carrying of unmanifested cargo to which he pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to one year for this offence to run concurrently. Judge Kilgour heard that on October 23 last year a motor vessel off Green Island was boarded by Frazer Manson, a member of a Royal Navy patrol. He found a Mercedes-Benz on board and a fierce struggle broke out with the crew. He was knocked into the engine compartment where he managed to cut the boat's fuel lines bringing it to a halt. In the fight, one man fell into the sea and disappeared. Another two men were found on the boat, including Wong, who was in the car boot, and Lee Kuk-tai, 26, who had absconded. Judge Kilgour said stealing and smuggling luxury cars had reached epidemic proportions in Hong Kong. The judge added: ''Dealing with a fast-travelling dai fei [speed boat] involves considerable danger for those tasked with policing our waters. It is an irritant between China and Hong Kong.'' In mitigation, defence counsel Bernard Yuen pointed out that Wong was not an organiser and was very young. But the judge said: ''The message must go back to China that whether farm boys or organisers, Hong Kong does not look kindly on this kind of [offender].'