A Hong Kong policeman who confessed to sexually assaulting five underage girls and possessing nude pictures of another was jailed for nearly four years on Wednesday.
The District Court sentenced Yu Chun-hing to 46 months behind bars after a psychological report assessed the risk of the 35-year-old detective constable reoffending at “the higher end of a moderate level”.
District Judge Timothy Casewell declined to increase Yu’s sentence despite the fact the suspect was a law enforcement officer when he committed the “serious offences”, saying he found no evidence to suggest the policeman had taken advantage of his position to abuse the six victims, who were aged 11 to 14 at the time.
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Nonetheless, the judge said the severity of the case was compounded by the substantial age differences between the defendant and his victims, as well as the number of victims involved and the fact that he had preyed on more girls even after his first arrest.
Yu, who has served on the police force for 12 years, pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of four separate charges – possession of child pornography, indecent conduct towards a child under the age of 16 years, indecent assault and unlawful sexual intercourse.
The court heard that the officer met the girls via Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram between late 2017 and July of 2018. He was said to have groomed the victims prior to taking advantage of them, and even addressed one 12-year-old girl as his wife.
The 12-year-old, identified only as Z by the prosecution, was first approached by Yu via Instagram in December of 2017. The officer later asked to be her boyfriend in a WhatsApp message, even though she had only just entered her first year of secondary school.
The young girl went on to send 28 nude photos of herself to Yu after he told her he wanted to masturbate to the images. But the two never met in person, and the girl later distanced herself from Yu after finding him annoying.
The five other girls, however, fell victim to a range of sex crimes.
Yu befriended a 13-year-old girl, B, in late 2017, and assaulted her for the first time on December 24 of that year after she agreed to be his girlfriend. He also had sexual intercourse with her in a public park in broad daylight in April of 2018, before the girl cut off contact with him.
During those months, Yu also molested a 14-year-old girl, A, in the rear staircase of a public housing block, after similarly asking her to be his girlfriend.
The policeman met two other girls, 12-year-old X and 11-year-old Y, on May 5, 2018, and arranged to pay them HK$150 each to be his “part-time girlfriends”. The officer eventually paid the girls HK$200 each, after molesting them in a rear staircase of a car park.
Yu was arrested on June 6, 2018, when he was attached to the police’s narcotics bureau. He was arrested again on August 16 of that year while he was out on bail, when it emerged he had sex with a drunken 14-year-old, C, whom he had met on Facebook and picked up from the bar district of Lan Kwai Fong on July 21.
Most of the girls refused to cooperate with police, but C said in a victim impact statement that she had suffered trauma as a result of her encounter with Yu.
Laying out his reasons for sentencing, Casewell observed that at least two victims had displayed signs of distress after the incidents.
The judge set a starting point for sentencing at six years in prison. He then reduced it to four years to reflect Yu’s guilty plea, before subtracting another two months to give credit to the defendant for sparing his victims the pain of recalling their ordeal at trial.
This article Hong Kong policeman jailed for nearly four years for sexually assaulting multiple underage girls first appeared on South China Morning Post