Screaming 'release me! I'm not guilty!', an elderly man was sentenced to life in prison yesterday for setting fire to an MTR train. Because of his repeated disruptions of proceedings in the Court of First Instance, Yim Kam-chung, 68, was held in a separate room, linked by video, to hear Mr Justice Louis Tong Po-sun hand down the maximum sentence for arson. The judge said Yim's action in igniting a bottle of solvent in a train carriage had been premeditated and 'extremely dangerous'. But he added there was a need for society to take better care of elderly people living alone, such as Yim, whose isolation may have prompted him to 'think radically'. The judge also praised passengers who had helped others escape without regard for their own safety. The court heard reports from two psychiatrists, one of whom said Yim was free of any delusional or personality disorders, and one who said he did have such problems and that hospital confinement would be appropriate. As had happened often during the trial, Yim was moved to the separate room after repeatedly screaming: 'I didn't leave my house on the day, I didn't set the fire! Release me! I'm not guilty!' The sentence will be reviewed after 10 years. Prosecutor Arthur Luk SC said he was not aware of any previous arson cases in which the person convicted had been sentenced to life. Commenting on the sentence, barrister Albert Luk said it was reasonable as the fire could have caused serious injury or death. Another barrister, James Chandler, said setting a fire in such a confined area causing the public to panic could be the worst kind of arson. Mr Justice Tong said Yim bore grudges against law-enforcement units and had committed the offence 'with premeditation and planning to cause serious damage'. Noting that Yim was 'a lone elderly [person] without people to take care of him, and ... to talk to', the judge said: 'We have lots of lonely elderly around us, but sometimes it seems that society has not been attentive enough to their needs. I hope every one of us can spare no effort to offer help and support to them in the future.' Mr Justice Tong also said he had been touched to hear from witnesses how passengers had helped each other to escape despite the risk to their own lives. 'The sense of civic responsibility of passengers, and the efficient and professional work carried out by police and related departments helped to prevent the event turning into a disaster.' The court had heard that Yim started the fire at about 9am on January 5 last year in the first carriage of a train shortly after it left Tsim Sha Tsui station for Admiralty. In a caution statement to police he had said that because the government had confiscated six of his vehicles he decided to 'cause a tragedy' at Admiralty, because the Chinese characters for the station were similar to his name, Kam-chung. Gavin Kwai Sze-kit, who won awards for heroism for alerting passengers then stamping on the burning bottle, said: 'Sentencing of the case has already been handed down. What else could I possibly say?'