A robber who turned himself in after 22 years on the run was sentenced to 15 months in jail on Tuesday.

Garage worker Ma Hon-kwong, 54, was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and attempted robbery at three factory buildings across Wan Chai and Kwun Tong between March and May, 1993.

At the High Court, Ma admitted to one count of going equipped to steal while the other charges were dismissed, Apple Daily reported.

high court
Photo: HKFP.

As 22 years has passed since the crime, some of the police officers and witnesses involved in the case had already passed away.

The counsel for the defence told the court that Ma had hidden in a New Territories carpark for the past 22 years, only making contact with his sister, his son, and his elderly mother, who begged  Ma to turn himself in so that her son would no longer be a wanted criminal. Ma’s son also refused to talk to him.

The defendant said that he had tried to turn himself in earlier but the officers on duty told him to “stop fooling around” and “go away.” Ma said that they even refused to check his ID card. Ma’s sister then suggested that he visit the police station in Kwun Tong where he was first arrested back in 1993.

However, a barrister and former police officer questioned this claim, saying that stations were all equipped with CCTV and “the officer on duty would not have done so, no matter how lazy or stupid he was.”

Deputy Judge Audrey Campbell-Moffat said that the defendant had no prior criminal convictions and there was no evidence to suggest that he had knowledge of firearms. As the defendant has already spent nine and a half months behind bars, he is expected to complete his 15-month jail term early next year.

Karen cheung hong kong

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.