Eight months jail term for damaging Best Mart 360

Local | 12 Jan 2021 5:40 pm

A man who pleaded guilty to damaging a Best Mart 360 shop was sentenced to eight months in jail in West Kowloon Magistrates' Court.

An eighteen district-wide protest was called for by anti-government protesters on the internet on October 13 in 2019. Seven people are charged with criminal damage for allegedly damaging the store Best Mart 360 at Metroplaza in Kwai Chung that day.

An unemployed man, 54, and male student, 18, pleaded guilty to their charges at the West Kowloon Magistrates' Court.

Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen said although the unemployed man Chow Sing-wa is not the organizer of the crime, the calls from the internet to damage the store would not have succeeded without people responding to it, so imprisonment is an appropriate penalty. 

Law criticized Chow’s damaging acts as lawless and sentenced him to eight months in jail.

Chow has been unemployed since August last year, he is currently living with his mother and is responsible for taking care of her because she is unable to move half of her body due to a stroke. 

During mitigation, defense counsel said Chow did not organize the crime and was unarmed when committing the crime in response to calls on the internet. Chow regretted his action and promised to abide by the law and would never commit the crime again.

In response, Law said this case is clearly planned and organized. It is not a singular event but a series of damaging actions that are done at different times and locations due to political differences. Law added only triads or hooligans would have done so.

He added Chow’s action not only damaged properties but has also caused worries and unease amongst shop employees, pedestrians, and citizens watching the news.

The other who pleaded guilty is male student Lam Tin-lok, he was 16-years-old when committing the crime. The defense counsel mitigated that Lam had low participation in the crime and was unarmed. He was cooperative when being arrested and did not struggle. 

Law adjourned Lam’s case to February 2 for sentencing. 

The court heard that the two along with five defendants, aged between 14 to 18, damaged properties belonging to CIAO International Limited, using their hands to sweep products in the store to the ground. The hearing continues on February 17 for the other five defendants. 

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