Four individuals sentenced to 18-45 months in prison for conspiring to facilitate prostitution of two 15-year-old girls

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20th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) In a recent court ruling, four individuals have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 18 to 45 months for their involvement in a conspiracy to facilitate the prostitution of two underage girls, aged just 15. The defendants, a male accomplice and three others connected to the case, had previously admitted to a total of 17 charges, including soliciting prostitution from another individual. The temporary acting judge, Mr. Wong Si-cheung, presided over the case and handed down the sentences on the 20th of February.

The judge described the case as an organized operation, although there was no evidence of coercion or the use of force. While the defense argued that the victims engaged in consensual sexual transactions, the judge emphasised that the girls were mentally immature and adults should have discouraged such behaviour. Exploiting the victims’ innocence for personal gain was deemed unacceptable by the court, especially when the defendants resorted to luring them with money.

The four defendants in this case are identified as Lee Ka-leung (45 years old, a real estate agent), Cheng Ka-wa (31 years old, an assistant engineering supervisor), Szeto Wing-cho (21 years old, a construction worker), and Liu Ching-man (33 years old, a piano teacher). Cheng pleaded guilty to 12 charges individually and, along with Szeto, admitted to one count of soliciting prostitution from another individual. Cheng and Szeto were sentenced to 45 and 19 months in prison, respectively, with Cheng receiving the heaviest sentence among the defendants. Liu was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Lee admitted to three charges, including engaging in illegal sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 16, producing and possessing child pornography, and was sentenced to 21 months in prison. The judge referred to trauma reports from the victims, highlighting the significant impact on their lives and the presence of post-traumatic symptoms such as negative self-perception and guilt.

The incidents occurred between October 2021 and March 2022 when the two female victims, identified as X and Y, were both 15 years old. According to the case details, Lee Ka-leung became acquainted with a procurer known as “Po Po” (later identified as Liu Shumin) in early 2021, who subsequently passed away after being arrested. In November 2021, Victim X met defendant Szeto Wing-cho. In March of the following year, Szeto provided X’s photo to Cheng Ka-wa, who then forwarded it to “Po Po.” “Po Po” shared the photo with Lee, who agreed to pay HK$20,000 for a sexual encounter with X. The encounter took place, but X received only HK$100 as payment.

Regarding Victim Y, the case revealed that on May 11, 2021, Y met Cheng Ka-wa through a social networking app, and their relationship developed into a romantic one. During their relationship, Cheng persuaded Y to send him explicit selfies and engaged in sexual acts with her on four occasions, capturing the encounters on video. Subsequently, Cheng proposed that Y become a prostitute, and with the involvement of “Po Po,” Liu Ching-man, and Cheng, Y engaged in four acts of prostitution, receiving HK$1,000, counterfeit designer handbags, and a necklace as compensation.