Anna Y K Lai, BBS, SC
Anna was called to the HK Bar in 1991, took silk (became Senior Counsel) in 2016 and served as the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (Advocacy & Appeals) from April 2016 until her retirement from the Department of Justice (“DoJ”) in February 2019. Anna was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2018 for her “dedicated and meritorious service” to the Government of the Hong Kong SAR. She joined Plowman Chambers in 2019.
Commencing her career as a Police Officer, Anna achieved the rank of Chief Inspector, then studied law at the University of Hong Kong on a Government scholarship. Having completed her legal studies she joined the Prosecutions Division of the HK Attorney General’s Chambers (now the DoJ) where she spent the next 27 years during which time she became the first female Senior Counsel appointed from the DoJ.
Anna has wide ranging and extensive experience in all aspects of criminal litigation, having appeared as a front-line advocate in hundreds of criminal trials and appeals involving a comprehensive range of offences. She had handled complex and high-profile trials from the High Court to the Magistracy and appeals at all levels including the Court of Appeal and the Court of Final Appeal (see notable cases section). Having handled the most serious criminal trials including homicide, rape, major drug trafficking and forgery, Anna has also been involved in white collar crime such as money laundering and corruption.
As one of only a handful of Senior Counsel in the DoJ, she trained public prosecutors, junior fiat counsel and members of various law enforcements agencies. During her career in the DoJ Anna also provided legal advice to Customs & Excise, Immigration, and on matters concerning labour and town planning.
Anna has served as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2020.
HKSAR v Lew Mon Hung FAMC 50 of 2018 (Appeal Committee),  2 HKLRD 1004 (CA), DCCC 819 of 2013 (DC) - appeared for the prosecution at the trial and appeals in a case of attempting to pervert the course of justice concerning the sending of emails and letters to the Chief Executive of the HKSAR and the Commissioner of the ICAC to call a halt to an ongoing ICAC investigation. The judgment can be found here.
HKSAR v Choi Wai Lun (2018) 21 HKCFAR 167 (CFA) - this case clarified the law in Hong Kong as to the mens rea requirement for the offence of indecent assault on a person aged under 16. The judgment can be found here.
HKSAR v Kilima Abubakar Abbas  1 HKLRD 29 (CA) - concerning the approach to be taken in discounting sentences for information or assistance given by defendants to the authorities. The Court of Appeal also re-affirmed and further explained the law in Hong Kong on the application of the sentencing guidelines to couriers and storekeepers for the offence of drug trafficking. The judgment can be found here.
HKSAR v Chan Man Sum, Ivan HCCC 240 of 2017 (CFI) - appeared for the prosecution at a murder retrial which relied heavily on circumstantial evidence, there being no corpse, no confession nor any forensic evidence linking the accused to the killing. The accused was convicted of murder after the retrial and sentenced to life imprisonment.
HKSAR v Fong Kwok Shan, Christine (2017) 20 HKCFAR 425 (CFA) - concerning the restriction of the right to free expression on government-owned properties. The judgment can be found here.
HKSAR v Leung Kwok Hung DCCC 546 of 2016 (DC) - appeared for the prosecution at the trial of a former Legislative Council (‘LegCo’) member for the offence of misconduct in public office concerning his failure to disclose receipts of financial donations from a media tycoon. Case involved multiple legal issues including parliamentary privilege and admissibility of LegCo documents and media reports. The judgment can be found here.
HKSAR v Chan Chun Chuen CACC 233 of 2013 (CA), HCCC 182 of 2012 (CFI), ESCC 2233 of 2011 (Magistracy) - appeared as junior counsel for the prosecution at the preliminary inquiry, trial and appeal in a case of forgery and using a false instrument concerning the use of a will purporting to be the will of the late Chinacham chairwoman Mrs Nina Wang. The judgment can be found here.
SJ v Leung Yuet Hung, HKSAR v Leung Yuet Hung  3 HKLRD 304 (CA), HCCC 42 of 2013 (CFI) - appeared for the prosecution at the trial and application for review of sentence of a historic case of attempted rape which relied mainly on expert evidence. The sentence review concerned the approach to be taken in sentencing historic sexual offences. The judgment can be found here.
HKSAR v Nancy Ann Kissel FAMC 63 of 2013 (Appeal Committee),  1 HKLRD 460 (CA), HCCC 55 of 2010 (CFI) - appeared as junior counsel for the prosecution at the retrial and appeals of the “milkshake murder” case. The judgment can be found here.
HKSAR v Kam Susanto CACC 542 of 2003 (CA), HCCC 214 of 2002 (CFI) – appeared as prosecuting counsel at the trial of a bookmaking and money laundering case, this being the first bookmaking case tried by jury in Hong Kong. Also appeared as junior counsel for the prosecution at the subsequent appeal. The judgment can be found here.
Bronze Bauhinia Star of the Hong Kong SAR in 2018.
One of the speakers on “Joint Enterprise Law - Hong Kong keeping its own course - what then?” at the 2017 Hong Kong Criminal Law Conference.
A contributing editor of the Criminal Appeals Bulletin, a publication of the Department of Justice (2015-2016).