IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO 726 OF 2013
Reasons for Sentence
1. The defendant has been convicted after trial of trafficking 43.34 grammes of a powder containing 22.78 grammes of ketamine. Thestreet value of this quantity of ketamine was agreed to be $5,330.
2. The facts are simply that the defendant looked and acted suspiciously and that led to two police officers stopping him. Aftera search, the police found two bags of ketamine wrapped in tissue hidden between two plastic bags and weighed down by an empty plasticbox. The defendant denied any knowledge of the drug.
3. In his defence he tried to suggest someone who was, to his knowledge, a drug addict, had had an opportunity to hide or put drugsin what was his empty plastic bag. I rejected the suggestion as fanciful and a desperate attempt to deny knowledge. I gave fullreasons for my verdict and will not repeat them here.
4. The defendant is not a man of clear record in Hong Kong, but his two previous convictions relate to shoplifting for which he receivedfines.
5. The defendant is an asylum seeker who arrived in Hong Kong in 2006. All his family is still in India. I have heard his applicationis in process.
6. He is and has been sleeping in a subway but chose not to apply for any accommodation or financial assistance or any food allowance. I am sure he would be entitled to those benefits, but for whatever his own reason has chosen not to apply.
7. He is not allowed to work in Hong Kong and earn an income because of his status here. And it is this that may have led him tobe a target of drug traffickers. He would not be the first asylum seeker to be offered a reward for carrying or delivering drugs. I suspect this is the case here.
8. In any event the conviction is for trafficking this quantity of ketamine, and guidelines will apply. I have considered the Courtof Appeal authority, Secretary for Justice v Hii Siew Cheng  3 HKC 323 and the appropriate guideline is where between 10 to 50 grammes of ketamine is trafficked, a 4 to 6-year term of imprisonment wouldbe appropriate.
9. Defence counsel has said as much as she can say in mitigation for the defendant and asks for leniency on his behalf.
10. Defendant, please stand up.
11. I have considered the facts of the case, the quantity of the drugs, the mitigation put forward and the guidelines that apply. After considering all these relevant factors, I will take a starting point of 4 years and 3 months. You have been convicted aftertrial and there is no further discount that is appropriate. Accordingly, you are sentenced to 4 years and 3 months’ imprisonment.