Hong Kong courts

Hong Kong fitness coach faces jail over ‘Thai boxing competition’ swindle of autistic 18-year-old student

  • Li Yiu-lun said he would enter the teen in a tournament and train him for it
  • He never did either, but he did take a HK$30,000 ‘registration fee’
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2018, 10:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2018, 4:23am

A Hong Kong fitness coach faces jail after he defrauded an autistic student of HK$30,000 (US$3,855) for a Thai boxing competition he never entered him in.

Eastern Court heard Li Yiu-lun, 35, told his 18-year-old student at the now-defunct California Fitness that he would prepare him with secret training in secret places, and enter him for a tournament in Wan Chai.

He told the boy the winner would earn cash and fame, and be photographed for event posters. Believing all this, the teen agreed to compete.

But Li then claimed the competition would require a registration fee of HK$30,000, and went with the teenager to take out a loan of the same amount from PrimeCredit on October 12, 2015.

The victim immediately handed the cash to Li, who never entered him for any competition. Li’s victim also never received any secret training, as Li often claimed he was busy training others.

The teen’s parents later discovered the loan when they saw a letter from PrimeCredit. Suspecting fraud, they reported the case to the Consumer Council and the police.

At trial, Li denied all the allegations and claimed he never suggested any competition.

The case rested solely on the word of the teenager, who was not good at expressing himself and often requested breaks, according to Magistrate Pang Leung-ting’s observations.

Two arrested in HK$620 million Hong Kong money laundering case

But Pang concluded the evidence was firm and direct on the crux of the allegations, and found Li guilty of one count of fraud. In mitigation, Li’s lawyer argued the case was an isolated incident that “happened to him” and said Li had never received any complaints from his other students.

But Pang warned: “I’m considering immediate imprisonment.”

Sentencing is adjourned to November 19.