A 54-year-old suspect in a series of robberies, who turned himself in to the police earlier this year after evading the law for 22 years, was sentenced to 15 months in jail.
High Court Judge Audrey Campbell-Moffat gave Ma Hong-kwong a lighter sentence than he would have received for his offenses after he showed remorse for what he had done and not causing any trouble while he was on the run, Apple Daily reported on Wednesday.
The court heard that Ma was arrested in 1993 for participating in several group robberies but jumped bail in the same year.
Since then he had been working in a garage in the New Territories.
Ma said he was filled with deep remose for many years, and decided to surrender this year after his grown-up son reproached him for not facing up to his crimes, while his old and sick mother told him she does not want to see him still a fugitive on the day she dies.
However, his resolve to turn a new leaf turned into disappointment after his first two attempts to surrender were rejected by the police, who told him to stop making up stories and even refused to check his identity.
Prodded by her sister, Ma turned himself in for the third time to the police station in the district where he committed his crimes and finally succeeded.
The judge asked him to plead guilty to only one offense, that of being equipped for robbery, as some of the witnesses and police officers in charge of his cases are already dead.
While the judge showed leniency, a barrister was highly doubtful of Ma’s story about his failed bids to surrender, calling it impossible.
A police officer could have just entered his ID card number into a computer and his criminal record would be displayed, and every officer would do so because the routine procedure was effortless and would have given them the credit of catching a wanted criminal, the barrister said.
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