Court told 'deterrent' sentence will protect public and police Kwai Ping-hung, one of the most notorious gangsters in recent Hong Kong history, has been jailed for 24 years. At the Court of First Instance yesterday, Mr Justice Michael McMahon sentenced Kwai, 45, to prison for 18 years for resisting arrest with a firearm. He ordered that 11 years of the sentence run concurrently with a 17-year sentence that Kwai is already serving on weapons charges. Yesterday's sentencing stemmed from a bloody shootout with police in the streets of Mongkok in May 2001, in which two plain-clothes officers were gunned down when they tried to arrest Kwai and three other men over an armed robbery. Mr Justice McMahon described Kwai's effort to thwart arrest as a challenge to the law enforcement of Hong Kong. He also noted that Kwai had placed the lives of ordinary Hongkongers at risk. Kwai, also known as Guan Derong, was found guilty in a retrial that ended two days ago. Nicholas Adams, counsel for Kwai, stressed in his mitigation yesterday that the jury that convicted the gangster of resisting arrest with a firearm was satisfied he only pulled out the pistol and pointed it at police to resist arrest, but did not fire any shots. Kwai was acquitted of a charge of the attempted murder of police Constable Sze Kwan-ming. Constable Sze was shot in the head at close range, but he made a full recovery after surgery. The other seriously wounded officer, Constable Lai Chi-wai, also survived after being shot in the shoulder. Mr Justice McMahon said he took into consideration that Kwai pointed the pistol at Constable Sze but did not necessarily fire any shots during the gang's escape. Nevertheless, he said the fact remained that two police officers were shot by an armed gang without any warning. The judge noted that he was passing a deterrent sentence against Kwai because both police officers and the public at large had to be protected from firearms. The maximum punishment for resisting police arrest with firearms is life imprisonment. Kwai was calm and stoney-faced when he learned of the length of his imprisonment. After the Mongkok shootout, he remained on the run for more than 21/2 years. He was eventually arrested in a pre-dawn raid on an apartment in Yau Ma Tei on Christmas Eve in 2003. The police found a cache of weapons, comprising pistols, an assault rifle, ammunition, and grenades. The weapons haul resulted in Kwai being convicted in an earlier trial of possession of firearms, ammunitions and explosives without licences. He was sentenced in February by Mr Justice McMahon to 17 years in prison.