Cheung Man-kai v The Queen

CourtCourt of Appeal (Hong Kong)
Judgment Date21 December 1978
Judgement NumberCACC1157/1978
Subject MatterCriminal Appeal


1978 No.1157.

CHEUNG Man-kai Appellant
THE QUEEN Respondent

Coram: Briggs, C.J.

Date of Judgment: 21st December, 1978.




1. The appellant pleaded guilty to loitering at night, and to being in possession of a knife and "an instrument fit for an unlawful purpose". This instrument was described as "two pieces of string".

2. The magistrate sentenced him ordering that he be detained in a detention centre. He was sentenced on November 1st, 1978. He appeals against that sentence.

3. The appellant is aged 17. He was employed as an apprentice electrician in his brother's shop and only earns $300 per month. His hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. This is his first offence. When arrested, he was found on his hands and knees at the back of a lorry which was unattended. He told the officers who arrested him that he intended to commit a robbery. Whether he knew what that meant is not certain. He may have intended to use the knife to frighten a passerby or he may have considered using it to steal something from the lorry.

4. At the hearing of the appeal his whole family appeared in court. His elder brother, Cheung Man-wai spoke on his behalf. He said that he and his family members would do all they could to prevent the appellant from incurring further trouble. He told the court that the appellant was properly remorseful for what he had done and promised to reform. I was struck with the sincerity with which Mr. Cheung spoke.

5. The magistrate had asked for a report from a probation officer. This states that in his opinion the case is a "borderline case for probation".

6. I think that this case is one where it is justified to take a risk. I feel sure that the members of the family of the appellant will act as familiar probation officers as it were, but I think the appellant should also be put on probation.

7. In the event, I will allow the appeal to the extent that the order of detention in a detention centre is quashed. The appellant is placed on probation for eighteen months, with the usual conditions as to good behaviour etc.

(Geoffrey Briggs)
Chief Justice.


Appellant in Person

Alderdice for Crown/Respondent

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