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Crime

Hong Kong man pleads guilty to 1994 rape after 23 years on the run

Chan Kim-hung, 52, decides to face his crimes after converting to Christianity while holed up at a church in Thailand near the Myanmar border

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2018, 6:23pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 July, 2018, 5:20pm

A former auxiliary policeman pleaded guilty on Monday to robbing and raping a nightclub hostess 24 years ago in Hong Kong after spending more than two decades on the run in mainland China and Thailand.

Chan Kim-hung, 52, pleaded guilty to rape, robbery, false imprisonment and failure to surrender to custody at the High Court.

In 1994, Chan, along with an accomplice, stole a credit card, HK$400 (US$50) cash, a train ticket and an identity card from a 26-year-old woman after they tied her up, taped her mouth shut and held her captive for two days in 1994, the court heard.

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Chan also raped the victim while his accomplice, Wong Wing-tak, bought gold jewellery with the credit card. The jewellery was then pawned for HK$14,000.

A former mobile phone salesman as well as auxiliary policeman, Chan was first arrested in 1994. After his arrest, he helped police find Wong, leading to a seven-year jail sentence for his accomplice in 1995. But Chan jumped bail and fled the city in the same year.

After spending most of his time on the run on the mainland, he decided to flee to Thailand, where he eventually converted to Christianity after taking refuge at a church near the Myanmar border, his defence counsel Kwan Tong-lee said.

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In 2014, a pastor encouraged Chan to return to Hong Kong to face his crimes, Kwan said.

“Also, his own conscience told him to come back to Hong Kong to face whatever punishment,” the barrister added.

The court heard Chan picked up the victim on September 9, 1994, at a nightclub in Causeway Bay, on the promise that he would pay her HK$1,700 in exchange for sex.

Chan brought the woman to a hotel in Happy Valley, where he and Wong robbed her. Apart from tying her up, Wong also slapped her.

While Wong was gone from the room, Chan raped her. The woman eventually escaped and called police. Chan was then arrested and brought to court.

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He claimed at the time that the victim had consented to sex, but she told police that she clearly said “no”, and described the experience as “painful”.

Chan went missing on May 23, 1995, the day he was expected in court for a preliminary hearing.

After 23 years on the run, Chan contacted Hong Kong police saying he planned to surrender. He was detained for eight months in Thailand before returning to Hong Kong in January. He was immediately arrested at Hong Kong International Airport.

“He has now pleaded guilty before this court showing his genuine remorse,” Kwan said.

Deputy judge Andrew Bruce noted that although Chan was the one who physically assaulted the victim during the robbery, he intended to sentence Chan for what Wong had done because they acted as a team.

He was “equally responsible”, said Bruce, who adjourned sentencing to Tuesday.