The man was yesterday sentenced in the high court to 10 years in jail for crimes committed against the daughters of his cousin.

In handing down the sentence, judge Johnny Chan Jong-herng said the 58-year-old defendant, identified as TFM, had not been brought to justice for nearly 40 years.

In that time, the defendant had been convicted of just one charge of illegal gambling, started a family and raised four children with his wife.

His family had still kept in touch with the three victims involved in the case, Chan said.

Chan also said psychological reports on the three victims, identified as X, Y and Z, showed that X and Z still suffered from the incident and required psychotherapy throughout the years.

He said the sentence had taken into account the interests of the victims, the deterrent effect of the sentence and the nature of the crimes committed.

Chan said the particulars of the sexual assault charges were as serious as rape, given that TFM raped Z, who was seven years old at the time, just one day after sexually assaulting X.

However, after considering that the defendant is a first-time offender and the case is being prosecuted 40 years late, Chan said that the sentence adequately reflected the extent of the crimes.

The defendant had earlier been charged with five counts of sexual assault and one count of rape.

The three victims X, Y and Z were born in 1976, 1969 and 1979 respectively.

They were sisters among eight siblings.

Y was the second child of the family, X the fifth and Z the seventh.

The defendant was accused of sexually assaulting Y on a boat in Hong Kong in 1982, and had twice sexually assaulted X five years later. He also raped and twice sexually assaulted Z on a boat between January 1, 1986 and December 31, 1987.

The jury unanimously found the defendant guilty on three sexual assault charges, also returning a guilty verdict on another sexual assault charge and rape charge by a six-to-one majority. He was acquitted on a count of sexual assault charge involving X.