A businessman who stole more than HK$160,000 out of the HK$15 million in banknotes that fell from a security van on Christmas Eve has been sentenced to five months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to theft, RTHK reported Friday.
Eastern Court heard Friday that Lui Luen-yung was travelling in a taxi on Gloucester Road when he saw the money lying on the road after it fell out of a G4S security van.
He told the driver to stop, got out of the taxi and picked up some of the cash before getting back into the vehicle to continue with his journey.
Magistrate Li Kwok-wai said a strong message had to be sent out that the courts will deal with such opportunistic crimes seriously.
Meanwhile, another defendant, a 68-year-old cleaner surnamed Chung, was handed a month’s sentence Thursday, suspended for 18 months, for theft of HK$8,000 worth of the banknotes.
Chung admitted to the charge and agreed to return the sum to the security firm.
The judge said in the ruling that the case was highly exceptional, and it was blatantly ruthless for so many people to steal in broad daylight.
Chung turned in HK$2,000 at a police station, but it was found out later that he had taken HK$8,000 and spent HK$6,000 on a new mobile phone. He was arrested several days later.
His lawyer pleaded for leniency, saying the defendant had abided by the law all his life and is the breadwinner for his family. He committed the crime on impulse, out of greed, the lawyer said.
Seven people were arrested for theft in the cash spill, while 46 others have turned in a combined HK$7.92 million to police, so over HK$7 million in banknotes is still missing.
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