Ayinde O. Chase
A Hong Kong court found a man accused of being the mastermind of a firebomb attack that killed 17 people in 1997. The attack, which occurred at a karaoke bar, has now landed him in prison for the remainder of his life.
Choi Kam-fai, 34, was convicted on Monday of murder in the case. During sentencing Tuesday, the judge said Choi played a key role in the bombing which caused a deadly blaze in the four-story club. He said Choi needed to bear the full responsibility.
Some 15 people perished the night of the blaze and two others died in the days that followed from their injuries. Choi was convicted on two counts of murder--the first relating to the deaths on the night, and the second to the other two.
Prosecutors said Choi's motive for the attack was an attempt to exact revenge after he was reportedly injured in a previous altercation with club security.
Following the firebombing, he fled Hong Kong for mainland China and remained at large for 11 years. He was arrested by police in 2008.
Chinese authorities said four other people who had roles in the arson attack were already sentenced. They were given sentences ranging from 11 years to life imprisonment. Two other suspects remain at large.