Three young men who beat an alleged neighbourhood bully to death did so after severe provocation, a court heard yesterday. Fan Kwok-po, 18, Lo Kai-chung, 16, and Wong To-sang, 23, each pleaded guilty to a count of manslaughter over the bashing of 22-year-old Wong Siu-ngai on the night of September 18 last year. The victim's beaten and bloodied body was found in grassland at the Chai Wan North Service Reservoir early on the morning of September 19 near a barbecue area that he and a group of about 15 other young people had used the previous evening. Fan had attended to celebrate Lo's 15th birthday. Both Fan and Lo were in Form Four at the Islamic Kasim Tuet Memorial College in Chai Wan, while Wong To-sang worked as an air-conditioning technician. Most of the people at the barbecue, whose average age police said was about 17, had consumed alcohol and, according to senior government counsel Michael Arthur, were drunk. The Court of First Instance heard how Wong Siu-ngai, who had previously appeared in court on triad-related charges, had become abusive during the evening. He allegedly forced a number of the party-goers to drink and prevented a 17-year-old girl from leaving. She was later escorted from the area by Fan, who returned to the barbecue afterwards. Later, Wong Siu-ngai slapped several party-goers, before punching another young man in the forehead. When the group grew agitated, Wong Siu-ngai challenged them to a fight, the court heard. A group comprising the three defendants and several others rushed forward and began beating him. All three told police they had seen Wong Siu-ngai fall to the ground covering his head, although they denied striking him anywhere above the torso. They claimed to have punched or kicked him a few times and then withdrawn while the remainder of the group continued the assault. Two other people are still being sought over the attack. A pathologist concluded that Wong Siu-ngai died from multiple head injuries consistent with being kicked repeatedly in the skull. So severe were the injuries that even if resuscitation had been attempted immediately, he would not have lived. Deputy Judge Peter Longley resisted attempts by counsel Paul Loughran to convince him the circumstances might allow a non-custodial sentence for the two youths. Judge Longley ordered background reports to be completed on the three defendants and an additional one regarding Lo's suitability for a term in a training centre based on his young age. He adjourned sentencing until August 28, warning counsel that he was considering substantial prison terms for all three.