Training center for arson fugitive teen

Local | Wallis Wang 27 Jul 2021

One of the "12 fugitives" who attempted to flee to Taiwan has been sentenced to a training center for throwing a petrol bomb at a Mong Kok police station two years ago.

The district court also heard that the defendant's HK$150,000 cost of fleeing Hong Kong on a speedboat was borne by others before because he could not afford it.

Hoang Lam-phuc, 17, earlier admitted attempted arson with intent and possession of an offensive weapon after he threw a Molotov cocktail at the station during a protest on October 14, 2019.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to another count of perverting the course of justice by trying to flee to Taiwan on August 23.

Judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che said Hoang had committed serious offenses because arson could lead to severe injuries as there were police officers at the station.

For the charge of perverting the course of justice, Yiu said it would have been hard to bring Hoang back if he successfully fled to Taiwan, which would hurt justice and public interest.

Yiu said the starting point for sentencing of the three charges should be six years in prison, and the jail term should be deducted to four years as Hoang pleaded guilty.

But he said Hoang, who was only 16 years old when he committed the crime, had already been detained for more than a year in the mainland and in Hong Kong and had cooperated with the police.

Yiu sent Hoang to a training center where he will be detained up to three years and not less than six months, depending on his behavior.

The prosecution said Hoang had planned to flee to Taiwan last March and started searching on Instagram for information on a way out. He then got to know people who offered to help him flee the city.

Hoang's escape cost of about HK$150,000 was sponsored by others as well because he could not afford it as a student, the prosecution said.

Hoang left his dormitory last April and has stayed in safe houses since. He was picked up by a driver the day before fleeing and was sent to the speedboat in Po Toi O.

Hoang was also told to bring court documents so that officials from Taiwan's mainland affairs council would offer him asylum.

Another defendant, Quinn Moon, also told him the secret code to contact those officials.

In mitigation, defense lawyer Chris Ng Chung-luen said Hoang was born in Vietnam and came to Hong Kong when he was little, adding that Hoang grew up in a single-parent family and always felt lost.

Hoang only committed the offense because he was lost and lacked responsibility, the defense said, adding that Hoang was remorseful and understood he should not have resorted to violence.

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