Man who stole HK$161,000 in Christmas Eve cash spill sentenced to five months’ jail
A Hong Kong magistrate condemned a blatant display of "opportunistic crime" as he slapped a five-month jail term on a man who stole HK$161,500 after cash spilled from a security van in Wan Chai last year.
A Hong Kong magistrate yesterday condemned a blatant display of "opportunistic crime" as he slapped a five-month jail term on a man who stole HK$161,500 after cash spilled from a security van in Wan Chai last year.
Magistrate Li Kwok-wai let fly in Eastern Court yesterday over the Christmas Eve incident that he described as "the most stunning scene I have ever seen".
Li was speaking at the sentencing of Lui Luen-yung, the second person to be convicted of theft in connection with the incident. Lui's jail term was reduced due to his guilty plea and previous clear record.
On Wednesday, the magistrate described the mad cash-grab as "lawless" when he sentenced the first offender, Chung Ying-kit, to one month in prison, suspended for 18 months.
"[These] people got crazy and threw away their [good sense] in flagrant disregard of the law," Li said yesterday. "Opportunistic crime is a grave matter, which the courts treat very seriously."
A trader in the recycling industry, Lui, 43, admitted picking up bundles of cash from three boxes of banknotes, totalling HK$52.5 million, which had spilled onto Gloucester Road, near Stewart Road, from a cash-delivery van operated by G4S Cash Solutions around lunchtime.
Lui was travelling in a taxi and asked the driver to pull over so he could collect some money, the court heard.
The following day, he was arrested at a laundry, to which the taxi driver told police he had taken his passenger.
Investigators found the lost cash beneath Lui's bed at his home in Kowloon Bay. Under caution, he said he intended to return the money.
Li said the custodial sentence was inevitable because of a need to send a strong message to the public. The money Lui took was a huge sum, the magistrate added.
In mitigation, defence counsel Ubaid-Ur Rehman said his client made a "wrong decision" and was "remorseful". He also claimed it was not a "conscious choice".
The magistrate noted Lui asked the cabbie to stop and rushing onto the busy road to get the money. "All were conscious decisions," Li said.