Waitress jailed 34 months for arson and possession of Molotov cocktails
A 20-year-old waitress was on Wednesday jailed 34 months for starting a fire in Mong Kok and being in possession of Molotov cocktails and corrosive liquids in a Yau Ma Tei hotel in February 2020.
Lam Tin-wing appeared before judge Ernest Lin Kam-hung in the District Court this morning. She and five other defendants were charged with committing arson between Nathan Road and Kansu Street on February 4, 2020; and possessing instruments with intent to damage property in Casa Deluxe Hotel in Yau Ma Tei between February 3 and 5, 2020.
The other five defendants had earlier pleaded guilty, and Lam was convicted of the two charges on August 11 this year after a trial.
The court previously heard that police searched the hotel room rented by the six and found 10 Molotov cocktails, a bottle of inflammable liquid, a bottle of corrosive liquid, four cans of cassette gas, and four cans of spray paint.
When passing sentence, Lin said the social atmosphere was calm at the time as the city was hit by the pandemic, but Lam and the other five committed the crimes to incite other anti-government protesters to follow their lead.
Lin also pointed out that their crimes were committed in the busiest area in Kowloon district, surrounded by residential and commercial buildings. The consequences of their crimes would be uncontrollable, and there could be casualties, Lin added.
Lin accepted that Lam was more of a follower than a leader in this case. He also referenced the background report that Lam had been working since 15 and raising a daughter without the father. Therefore, Lam was a mature adult with life experiences and shouldn't use her naivete of the law as an excuse, the judge noted.
Lin highlighted that Lam has to shoulder her legal consequences after pleading not guilty. The law explicitly states that women won't be sent to a detention center, and the court cannot further reduce the jail term just because of that.
Although Lam's poor background was not a mitigation factor, Lin started the jail term at three years and reduced it by two months.
Two other adult defendants in this case were earlier jailed for four years and two months, and the other three underage defendants were sent to a detention center.