Hong Kong barber has shears confiscated after chopping off stranger's ponytail

Allen Yu Kam-lun, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
PHOTO: South China Morning Post

A Hong Kong barber had his shears confiscated on Wednesday after he admitted to chopping off a stranger's ponytail on a bus because it bothered him.

Allen Yu Kam-lun, 65, told the court he had tapped the shoulder of the young woman sitting in front of him - on the bus to Aberdeen on January 13 - to let her know her hair was brushing his knee, but she did not respond.

He said he felt ignored by her, so in a moment of impulse he took out his barber's shears and cut at the woman's ponytail until it fell off.

Eastern Court heard a fellow passenger witnessed the incident and immediately asked Yu: "Why did you cut that person's hair?"

The victim, Ting Wai-lam, a 25-year-old engineer, then turned to see her hair scattered on the floor of the upper deck of Citybus route 107.

"Why did you cut my hair?" she said.

"Your hair was getting in my way," Yu replied.

He was arrested 15 minutes later.

Yu had previously denied that his actions amounted to an assault. On the day of trial, however, he pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

"I regret it very much," Yu said as he pleaded for leniency. "I know I was wrong."

Yu had 41 prior convictions, prosecutors revealed, most of them acts of dishonesty. Four cases involved violence, including common assault, wounding and fighting in a public place.

The prosecution applied for Yu's barber's shears to be confiscated, and the request was granted by Magistrate Colin Wong Sze-cheung.

Sentencing was adjourned to September 25, pending reports on the suitability of community service.

The magistrate said all sentencing options remained on the table.

A conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm is punishable by three years' imprisonment in Hong Kong.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.