Hong Kong ‘super bus fan’ who stole route plates and charts gets two-year jail sentence halved after appeal judge says crime was not typical burglary
- Judge says items taken were not valuable and he hopes 21-year-old Kwok Chun-ting will learn from misdeed
- Kwok and two others took double-decker for joyride, breaking into station offices to steal paraphernalia
A “super bus fan” convicted of stealing dozens of route plates and itinerary charts had his jail term halved after an appeal judge acknowledged on Wednesday that his crime was not a typical burglary.
Acting chief judge Wally Yeung Chun-kuen reduced Kwok Chun-ting’s two-year jail term to one, as he accepted the items stolen by the 21-year-old bus fanatic stopped short of being pricey valuables.
But Yeung stressed this did not imply the city’s courts condoned Kwok’s “naive” behaviour, calling his actions “unwise” and a “disruptive prank from youngsters”.
Kwok was sentenced last year by the District Court after he pleaded guilty to three counts of conspiracy to burgle.
In the early hours of February 12, 2017, he teamed up with two other bus fanatics, Marco Yiu Ho-yin and Chan Ho-yin, and took a double-decker for a joyride. They drove to three bus stations in Tuen Mun, where they stole 30 bus routes plates and 27 pages of bus itineraries usually displayed inside vehicles or at stops.
Ruling on Kwok’s appeal against his sentence on Wednesday, Yeung also said Kwok’s attempt was not as serious as other burglaries, in that he never intended to take home anything expensive after he had trespassed those bus stops. There was also nothing precious for him to steal.
The judge noted that Kwok had no prior criminal record, though he added the appeal might not have been successful if not for his young age.
Yeung said he wanted to show Kwok mercy in the hope that the young man would be able grasp the gravity of his deeds.
The court previously heard all 30 bus plates Kwok and his accomplices had stolen were properties of bus company KMB. They included those for routes X33 and N60.
The trio met online a few years ago, during which Yiu and Chan were both employees of the bus company. Kwok was a former staff member.
They arrived at 1.30am on February 12 last year and waited at the Siu Hong Court Bus Terminus in Tuen Mun for staff to leave. Chan then allegedly cut the door lock of the bus office, and the group stole the items inside.
Yiu went to a nearby bus station to drive a double-decker bus over and pick up his accomplices.
They then proceeded to Leung King Estate Bus Terminus and Tuen Mun Station Public Transport Interchange for more break-ins.
The three men hid the stolen items in a decommissioned bus parked at an open area in Tsz Tin Tsuen. Kwok and six other friends had bought the vehicle.