An engineer who returned HK$500,000 (US$64,480) taken from a cash spill last year has been spared jail after the judge said he is an upstanding citizen.
So Kam-cheung, a 46-year-old father of an autistic child and sole bread winner of the family, bowed three times outside the courthouse as photographers clicked away after magistrate Jason Wan sentenced him to 240 hours of community service.
Defense lawyers had told the judge So would not be fired by his employer if he was not jailed.
They said his two weeks in custody had been a hard lesson for him.
So apologized to the court as he sought leniency and a second chance from the community, according to Ming Pao Daily.
Wan said a jail sentence was appropriate given the large sum of money involved but pronounced a lesser punishment, saying So is an otherwise law-abiding citizen.
So had admitted to a charge of theft relating to a Christmas Eve cash spill from a security van in which he scooped up a stash of bills.
He was arrested on Feb. 10 and confessed to the police that he had deposited the money in mainland China.
So returned the cash intact three days later.
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