Hong Kong woman handed 3 years and 5 months for brutal assaults on boyfriend
The series of four assaults left the man with severe burns to his lap and cuts over much of his body, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder in the aftermath.
A Hong Kong woman was jailed for nearly 3½ years on Monday for stabbing her boyfriend, rubbing chilli oil into his wounds and burning his penis, among other acts of violence, in a series of assaults for which she “has not shown a shred of remorse”.
The District Court heard insurance agent Mak Hoi-ching, 39, struck her then 30-year-old boyfriend in the head with a metal stool, burned his penis, and picked off the scabs and blisters that formed on the sex organ after she became annoyed with discussions about her contribution to his property purchase.
She also poured boiling hot water from a kettle onto his thighs, stabbed him in the chest with a pair of scissors, and rubbed chilli oil onto his wounds over the course of four separate attacks that took place in her Happy Valley residence in August of 2018.
The man, named only as X to protect his identity, was found to have “second degree scalding with ruptured blisters” on his penis and both thighs, bilateral scalp swelling, and multiple cuts over his head, chest and abdomen.
A psychiatrist found X to be suffering from partially remitted post-traumatic stress disorder marked by anxiety, low mood, impaired concentration, insomnia, and intrusive memories of the assaults inflicted by his first love.
X, who met Mak via speed dating, also avoided Happy Valley altogether as he worried about seeing her again.
At trial, X testified behind a screen that he had requested, and burst into tears on several occasions, trembling at times as he recounted details of the assaults, according to Deputy District Judge June Cheung Tin-ngan’s observation.
But Mak continued to maintain her innocence, even after being found guilty on four counts of wounding with intent, with the court rejecting her claims that her boyfriend’s injuries had been self-inflicted and her only fault was not stopping him from self-harm.
Experts consulted by the court concluded there was no psychiatric or psychological explanation for the abuse, which eventually came to light after her then-boyfriend spoke to his aunt and reported the case on August 30, 2018.
But psychological counselling and coping strategies were recommended for the defendant, as Mak was found to have adjustment issues precipitated by the stress of a court hearing, which had led to two episodes of self-harm.
Mak had a prior conviction for assaulting her domestic helper, for which she was fined HK$5,000 in July 2013.
In mitigation, she complained of tremendous stress brought by the wide publicity of her trial and said she was no longer eligible to work in the insurance or finance industry, with her employer terminating her contract in July.
Defence counsel Martyn Richmond, meanwhile, asked the court to weigh its sentence in the context of a relationship in which frustration had boiled over into violence despite genuine underlying affection, arguing the assaults had been impulsive and there was no evidence of permanent injuries.
Letters from Mak’s parents, another ex-boyfriend, and former colleagues, also depicted her as a loving girlfriend and a kind person.
But Cheung observed that these descriptions did not tally with her findings that Mak had been cruel to X, using dangerous weapons to launch progressively more serious attacks against him without any provocation.
“The various ways in which Mr X was assaulted exhibited insults and no mercy at all from the defendant,” Cheung said. “Obviously, the defendant lacks reflection of her violent character and behaviour … and has not shown a shred of remorse.”
Given the seriousness and circumstances of the assaults, the judge concluded that jail was “the only appropriate sentencing option”, and handed down a sentence of three years and five months.
Sentences for wounding with intent can range up to life imprisonment, but are capped at seven years when the case is heard at the District Court.