Judge scolds bullying teenager

A DISTRICT Court judge gave a robber a tongue lashing yesterday for his history of beating his parents and younger siblings.

''What a bully you are,'' Judge Chua said. ''How dare you.'' The judge, reading from a report on Lai Kin-hung's family history, said the 19-year-old delivery worker had battered his parents and siblings when they refused to give him money.

Lai pleaded guilty to robbery, along with accomplices Ngai Cheuk-man, 17, and Cheung Chi-fai, 18.

On January 29 last year, two women - Yiu Kam-fung and Ho Wan-to - were in a lift at their Sha Tin home when they were joined by Lai, Ngai and Cheung, the court heard.

The three youths demanded that the women surrender their jewellery and money.

The youths then fled with two gold rings, a bracelet and $890 in cash, prosecutor Jackson Poon said.

The court was told that the trio robbed another woman, Chung Tse-mei, in a lift in the same building on January 30.

They were arrested the next day after Ms Chung spotted them in the building's lobby, the prosecutor said. All three were found in possession of dangerous drugs, the court heard.

Ngai and Cheung told police they had committed the robberies because they needed money ''to consume white powder''.

A magistrate sent Lai and Cheung to a drug addiction treatment centre last April. Ngai was put on probation.

In mitigation, Simon Lam said Lai's family and employer felt Lai had ''changed a lot'' since his release from the centre in September and urged the judge to consider a probationary sentence.

But Judge Chua sentenced both Lai and Cheung to a training centre, and remarked ''a leopard doesn't change its spots overnight''.

Defence counsel for Ngai, Raymond Chu, told the court Ngai was a hard-working young man with a clean record, and that he had given up drugs.

Judge Chua, noting that Ngai's boss had given him a glowing reference and a salary increase, urged Lai and Cheung to follow Ngai's example.

She sentenced Ngai to two years' probation.