Teen petrol bomber gets nearly four years in jail

A teenager has been sentenced to three years and 10 months in jail for hurling petrol bombs at the Kwai Chung police station on January 29 in an attempt to set vehicles parked inside alight. Kelvin Chan Chun-fai, an 18-year-old transport worker and part-time piano and trumpet teacher,...

Maisy Mok

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A teenager has been sentenced to three years and 10 months in jail for hurling petrol bombs at the Kwai Chung police station on January 29 in an attempt to set vehicles parked inside alight.

Kelvin Chan Chun-fai, an 18-year-old transport worker and part-time piano and trumpet teacher, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of attempted arson and another count of possession of items with the intent to destroy or damage property.

He admitted to attempting to set a police car on fire at the Kwai Chung compound with two unidentified people who he refused to name in court.

As well as being in possession of 11 petrol bombs, items found in a flat rented in Chan's name at Kingsford Industrial Building Phase 2, Kwai Chung, included two bottles of drain cleaners and three glass bottles.

District Court judge Amanda Woodcock said arson is a serious offense and can draw up to a life sentence.

"Chan was not only attacking the police station, but the order in society and rule of law as well,'' Woodcock said.

When considering the penalty for a serious crime such as arson, judge Woodcock said, the consideration of deterrence effect of the sentence is of higher priority than consideration of the defendant's rehabilitation development, background and age.

She said Chan had been well prepared for the offenses as he had rented a flat for the storage of petrol bombs.

He had also bought raw materials and followed online videos to learn how to make petrol bombs.

And, judge Woodcock added, Chan dressed in all black to avoid arrest that day at the crime scene.

She said a surveillance camera showed that a pedestrian had just walked past the crime scene when Chan threw a petrol bomb. Luckily no one was injured, judge Woodcock said.

As petrol bombs are dangerous and unstable, Chan should be glad that the prosecutor did not charge him with a more serious crime of endangering life.

"Chan has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a psychiatric report," judge Woodcock said.

"However, there's no evidence to show his diagnosis is relevant to his crime."

The diagnosis was confirmed in court by a psychiatrist.

In mitigation, defense counsel Michael Leung Hung-kuk said Chan realized that he is a "bad example" after committing the crime and has urged other protesters not to do the same.

"As the defendant committed the crime when he was 17 years old, the court has options for sentencing Chan other than imprisonment," the psychiatrist said.

In a separate case, Yiu Siu-hong, a stage technician, was sentenced to four years in jail on June 24 in District Court after being convicted of one count of possessing an offensive weapon in a public place and a count of attempted arson.

The 23-year-old was arrested on October 13 last year during an anti-government protest in Tseung Kwan O.

maisy.mok@singtaonewscorp.com