HK man jailed for looting Xiaomi store that was trashed by protesters in Mong Kok

24-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

A Hong Kong man who was caught red-handed stealing three phones from a trashed Xiaomi store during a protest last weekend was jailed for three months by a court on Wednesday.

West Kowloon Court heard protesters on Sunday found Tang Chong-hou, 38, looting Mi-Home Store on Nathan Road in Mong Kok, and tied him to street railings nearby.

Police officers sweeping the area later found Tang tied up at the junction of Soy Street and Shanghai Street, with three phones beside him.

Upon arrest, the transport worker admitted he had stolen the gadgets out of greed.

Security footage taken from the shop revealed three men looted the store room at 6.11pm, one of them being Tang, who was seen wearing a light-coloured cap, dark clothes, gloves and a black face mask.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of theft, an offence punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment.

The man had 17 past convictions, including nine of theft.

His defence lawyer revealed that he was a single man earning a daily wage of HK$600 (US$76.50), with his 16-year-old son living with foster parents.

Court documents showed that Tang had no fixed abode in Hong Kong.

Principal Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen acknowledged there was no evidence to show Tang was involved in trashing the store, but that he had made use of the opportunity to enter its unattended store room and commit the crime.

The magistrate adopted a starting point for sentence at four-and-a-half months, before reducing the term by a third to credit Tang’s guilty plea.

Multiple stores operating mainland Chinese-linked businesses were vandalised, trashed and set on fire during the protest on October 20, which began with an illegal but peaceful march in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Echoing calls from some protesters not to steal from vandalised shops, one activist told the tied-up man on Sunday: “We don’t rob. You are disgraceful.”

The three stolen Mi mobile phones were returned to Mi-Home Store.

The spiralling crisis, which was sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent back to the mainland, has seen hard-core activists broaden their targets to the MTR and businesses deemed to have mainland links or pro-Beijing views.


Category: Hong Kong

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