Under section 11 of the Theft Ordinance (“TO”), any person who commits burglary shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable for maximum imprisonment for 14 years.


There are two specific types of offences under section 11(1)(a) and (b).


  1. Without stealing anything inside the building, a person can be convicted of burglary once he enters into a building as a trespasser with an intent to steal under section 11(1)(a) TO.
  2. In contract, if a person (1) already entered into a building as a trespasser and (2) ‘inflicted or attempted to inflect grievous bodily harm’, he will be charged under section 11(1)(b) TO.


The courts give a wide interpretation to the word “entry”. In R v Ryan, the defendant was found trapped in a window frame with his head and one arm inside the house and the rest of his body outside. The judges in trial and appellate court found him guilty even if he had not fully entered the building. In this case, it is clear that, in legal sense, parts of the body inside the building can constitute to be effective entry.


Sentencing direction

Cases Sentencing direction
HKSAR v Leung Ting Fung & ANOR


Totality principle: The court shall step back and take a global view of the criminal conduct for sentencing.



Aggravating/Mitigating factors

Cases Factors
HKSAR v Gao Chuanglu (高創爐) Aggravating factors: (1) well-planned burglary and (2) previous conviction


Sentences: 6 years and 8 months’ imprisonment



HKSAR v Leung Ting-fung


Aggravating factors: offences committed on bail


The Court held that the commission of an offence while on bail was a “a seriously aggravating factor”.


Sentences: 54 months’  (4.5 years’) to 65 months’ (5 years and 5 months’) imprisonment for all defendants

HKSAR v Chen Ting-fang


Aggravating factors: breach of trust


  1. The defendant duplicated the key to enter premises as a trespasser
  2. The Court of Appeal endorsed this aggravating factors and dismissed the appeal against sentencing

Sentences: 3 years and 3 months’ imprisonment

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