Hong Kong man admits raft of charges after rape victim breaks down in tears recounting three-day ordeal locked up in flat
Cheung Tsz-hong, 28, pleads guilty to four counts of rape, and one each of false imprisonment, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm
An unemployed Hong Kong man accused of rape, false imprisonment and assault pleaded guilty halfway through his jury trial, a day after one of his victims broke down in court recounting 72 hours of horror.
Cheung Tsz-hong, 28, on Friday admitted four counts of rape, and one each of false imprisonment, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
But he pleaded not guilty in the High Court to one count of robbery, in which it was alleged that he stole a mobile phone, a wallet and a small amount of cash from the woman he imprisoned.
Prosecutor Michael Arthur applied for the charge to be left on file, meaning it cannot be pursued without the court’s leave.
The case was adjourned to next Tuesday for prosecutors to prepare the admitted facts before Madam Justice Judianna Barnes Wai-ling formally directs the jury to return guilty verdicts.
The maximum penalty for rape is life imprisonment.
The surprise plea reversal on the third day of the trial came after one of Cheung’s two victims broke down in tears on Thursday as she told a jury of five men and two women of her ordeal in his Tuen Mun flat from December 14 to 17, 2016.
The court heard the 28-year-old victim, identified only as Y, recount how she was tied, drugged, slapped, burned and threatened at knifepoint, in a testimony so detailed that she was able to say the exact location of where Cheung obtained the lighter to scorch her thigh.
“I still have the scar on me now,” she said from behind a screen.
But she could not hold back tears when she was reminded of the repeated sexual assaults.
It took her 25 minutes to compose herself before she could tell the court how Cheung raped her three times after he threatened to kill her.
Cheung’s guilty pleas meant that he also admitted indecently assaulting and raping another woman, the then 20-year-old X, who is now spared from having to relive her ordeal in open court.
Prosecutors previously revealed that X reported the case to police hours after she was attacked on December 10, prompting officers to search Cheung’s flat and seize sex toys and condoms the following day. Y fell victim three days later.
Under the sentencing guidelines handed down by the Court of Appeal in September 2016, a guilty plea entered at the earliest opportunity merits a one-third sentencing discount.
Those who plead guilty during trial will get a less than 20 per cent discount from the starting point of sentence. The precise discount is subject to the judge’s discretion.