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Hong Kong courts

Scout leader who molested four boys to ‘vent negative emotions’ spared jail by Hong Kong judge

  • Deputy District Judge Newman Wong slams assaults as terrible and shameful abuse of power, position and trust
  • But he eventually decides against imprisonment after considering defendant’s clear record, early plea, young age, family support and potential to rehabilitate
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 8:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 December, 2018, 8:20pm

A young Hong Kong scout leader who molested four boys under his command to vent negative emotions was spared jail by a court on Wednesday.

The District Court heard the man groped the boys, aged between 13 and 17 at the time, and performed oral sex on one of them then took him home and refused to let the 15-year-old leave until he agreed to touch him.

Deputy District Judge Newman Wong slammed the assaults as a “terrible and shameful” abuse of power, position and trust, and considered imprisonment appropriate.

But he eventually sent LCN – as the 20-year-old was known in court – to a training centre, following the recommendation of correctional services.

The facility provides correctional training for young offenders, aged between 14 and 20, detained for a period of six months to three years, as the commissioner of correctional services deems appropriate.

The case came to light in November 2017, when a scout leader asked two of the boys, identified as A and X in court, how they felt about LCN and they replied with accounts of how he had molested them.

Further inquiries by LCN’s superiors revealed two more victims, Y and Z.

LCN pleaded guilty last month to seven counts of indecent assault.

Defence counsel Jacky Jim Chun-ki explained in mitigation his client committed the offence because he did not know how to handle interpersonal pressure and issues with his sexual orientation.

Jim said his client felt “deeply remorseful” for what he did, as seen in his guilty plea and the apology letters he wrote to each victim.

Pre-sentencing reports revealed LCN committed the offence to satisfy his sexual needs. His risk of committing similar offences was at “the higher end of the moderate range”, according to a psychologist, who found LCN used sex to vent negative emotions.

The judge felt the training centre “may be a bit too lenient in the eyes of the appeal court”.

But he eventually decided against imprisonment after considering LCN’s clear record, early plea, young age, family support and potential to rehabilitate.

Indecent assault is punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment.