A YOUNG man arrested for planning a robbery within a month of being released from prison was jailed for 31/2 years yesterday. Chan Kwok-chun, 21, who was discharged from prison in December last year after serving a 10-month term for wounding and assault, had denied conspiracy to rob, possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an arrestable offence and possession of an offensive weapon. The High Court jury had found him guilty of all three charges and Mr Justice Patrick Chan had called for reports before sentencing. Passing sentence yesterday, Mr Justice Chan noted that the defendant had come from a miserable family and had got into trouble with the law when he was eight. His father was a drug addict and his brother was in prison, he said. The offences Chan had committed were very serious and he deserved a heavy sentence, the judge said. But a lengthy term would only turn Chan into a hardened criminal, the judge said. Taking into account the minor role played by Chan, he decided on a more lenient sentence. Crown counsel Yasmin Mahomed had called evidence that Chan and two other men were stopped by the police in Tai Po at around 2 am on January 7. An imitation firearm and two beef knives were found on Chan's two companions. Under caution, Chan admitted they were intending to carry out a robbery and were looking for a victim. Chan's counsel, Andrew Kan, said Chan's parents had separated when he was very young and his mother had died when he was three. He was being led on by the others in the plot.