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Justice catches up with fugitive

Angel Lau

Friday, November 14, 1997

A FUGITIVE who spent three years fighting extradition from the United

States was yesterday jailed for the same period.

Wilfredo Geluz Crudo, 51, was one of a trio that preyed on tourists

visiting Hong Kong, usually Japanese men, with adulterated drinks

before making off with their valuables.

While his accomplices have since served time in jail, Crudo was

finally brought to the Court of First Instance after more than four

years.

Crudo absconded in December 1992 to the US where he escaped detection

until February 1994.

He contested all efforts for extradition up to the US Supreme Court

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that ordered his surrender in March.

Crudo begged Deputy Judge Gareth Lugar-Mawson to spare him jail

because he had "entirely changed" after three years in the US

prisons.

He had been in custody pending extradition.

But Deputy Judge Lugar-Mawson rejected Crudo's request.

The Filipino fugitive could have come back to Hong Kong at any time

during the years he fought his case in the US, the judge said.

The court had to take a serious view of crimes committed by foreign

nationals so Hong Kong would not became a haven for them.

The judge adopted a starting point of six years and halved it to

reflect Crudo's plea of guilt and time served in the US.

Prosecutor James Dick said Crudo was responsible for disposing of

stolen goods and using stolen credit cards to buy goods.

The racket went on from December 1991 to 9 November 1992 when Crudo,

Rodrigo Fabricante and Leonardo Chua were arrested.

Japanese Toshiko Hayashi arrived in Hong Kong on 31 May 1992 and

checked into a guesthouse at Chungking Mansions, Tsim Sha Tsui.

Fabricante approached Hayashi on Peking Road and invited him to his

room at the Kimberley Hotel. While there Fabricante offered him a can

of orange juice, which he drank and then fell unconscious.

He woke to find his passport, watch, US$3,600 (HK$28,000) and HK$100

missing.

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END


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