A Hong Kong man who admitted to planting needles in bus seats to hurt passengers because he claimed the drivers were skipping stops has been sent for a mental evaluation.
District judge Frankie Yiu Fun-che on Monday ordered psychiatric and psychological assessments and a background report on Mok Cham-sum, 32, after the unemployed man pleaded guilty to the bizarre crime that injured three passengers and triggered a series of copycat incidents.
The judge asked lawyers for similar cases to help with the sentencing in November, but was told Mok's case might be the first of its kind in the common law jurisdiction.
Mok faces up to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted wounding with intent and two other counts of criminal damage. Two other similar charges were left on court file.
The District Court heard that Mok, who had been remanded since his arrest in July 2018, admitted under caution to police that he had implanted the needles to hurt passengers because he claimed the buses were bypassing stops.
On June 27 last year, the Tsing Yi resident boarded KMB bus route 41A at Cheung On Bus Terminus at 4.47pm with a plan to go shopping in Jordan. He changed his mind and decided to go New Town Plaza in Sha Tin. He got off in Tsim Sha Tsui and walked to Yau Ma Tei to catch route 81. But he missed his stop so he switched to route 48X at Wo Che Terminus.
By the time Mok got to the shopping centre at 7.01pm, he had changed his mind about shopping and returned home via route 49X.
Lam Kit-wing got on route 41A in Tsim Sha Tsui at about 6.30pm the same day. As soon as she sat down on the upper deck, she felt a sharp object puncture her left buttock and jumped up in pain.
An upright sewing needle was found sticking out from her seat with 3cm exposed and its sharp end pointing up.
Lam reported the case the same day and went to Kwong Wah Hospital, where doctors found a superficial puncture wound on her left buttock but no bleeding.
Security footage of the bus revealed that Mok had earlier sat next to Lam's seat and made some movements before changing seats a minute later.
The same night, Leung Ip-ki boarded the same 48X at New Town Plaza Bus Interchange at 7.01pm and sat on the upper deck. He immediately changed seats when he felt a sharp object puncture his left thigh.
From his new seat, Leung noticed there was a sewing needle pinned to his original chair and watched another woman sit down immediately afterwards.
But because he thought she had no reaction to the seat, he kept quiet and did not tell her about the 1cm needle protruding from the chair.
Lo Wing-sze, however, did feel a sharp object puncture her left thigh so she changed her sitting position, only to get her right thigh punctured as well. Feeling strange, she changed her position again and later moved to another seat when her neighbour disembarked.
She reported the case to a KMB employee at Bayview Garden in Tsuen Wan and went to Yan Chai Hospital for examination, where it was found that she had a puncture wound on each of her thighs.
Leung went to Prince of Wales Hospital two days later.
Security footage on the bus revealed that Mok had sat next to the seat in question after he got on at 6.53pm.
Police later seized seven more needles, from 31/2cm to 51/2cm, from Mok's residence.
Forensic pathologist Dr Foo Ka-chung said such needles protruding from seats could injure the skin and organs underneath the pelvis and on the back of the thigh, as well as inflict nerve damage.
Puncture wounds from a foreign object also carry a risk of infection and children are exposed to more severe and deeper injuries, Foo said.
Public prosecutor Eric Yung said none of the victims suffered major trauma in the aftermath but that they had sought compensation from KMB.
The judge will hear mitigation at the sentencing hearing scheduled for November 12.
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.