Chau Wai-ming Eric

Before: H H Judge Longley

Date: 7 April 2011 at 3.30 pm

Present: Ms Carol Fung, Counsel on fiat, for HKSAR
Mr Tang Tsz-kai Kevin, instructed by Wong & Co., assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Defendant

Offence: (1) Trafficking in a dangerous drug (販運危險藥物)
(2) Possession of dangerous drugs (管有危險藥物)


Reasons for Sentence


1. Chau Wai-ming, Eric, you have been convicted on your own pleas of trafficking in 26.47 grammes of a mixture containing 22.08 grammesof heroin hydrochloride, (Count 1) and simple possession of 1.37 grammes of a crystalline solid containing 1.32 grammes of methamphetaminehydrochloride, and 1.57 grammes of a mixture containing 1.29 grammes of heroin hydrochloride (Charge 2).

2. The heroin that is the subject of the 1st charge was found by the police in a bag on the rear passenger seat of your car which wasparked in Shek Tong Street, Hung Hom, in the early hours of 17 September 2010. You were alone in the car at the time, apparentlyasleep, with the car engine running.

3. You were taken back to the police station where you were subjected to a body search. Inside your underpants the police found ared packet containing three transparent plastic bags containing a total of 1.37 grammes of a crystalline solid containing 1.32 grammesof methamphetamine hydrochloride. That was not the only dangerous drug found in your underpants. A total of 1.57 grammes of a mixturecontaining 1.29 grammes of heroin hydrochloride was found in another plastic bag and in a packet formed by a $20 note. These arethe drugs that are the subject of the 2nd charge of simple possession.

4. The street value of the drugs which are the subject of the trafficking charge was approximately $27,000. At the time of your arrestyou were found in possession of $27,010 in cash.

5. You are a man of 45 years of age with numerous previous convictions, including six for possession of dangerous drugs. You havenot previously been convicted of trafficking in dangerous drugs.

6. In mitigation, it was initially suggested that much of the heroin, which is the subject of Charge 1, was for your own consumptionand that you intended to give away the remainder to visiting friends. It was also alleged that the main source of your funds, includingthe money found on you, was a gift of $150,000 given to you by your mother.

7. When I indicated that while I was prepared to accept that a small proportion of the drugs that were subject of the trafficking chargemight, bearing in mind your drug history, have been for your own consumption, I would require evidence before I would accept thatany greater amount was intended for that purpose, and that I would not accept that a mother would give a son, whom she knew to beaddicted to dangerous drugs, $150,000 in cash without further evidence, you declined to give or call any supporting evidence.

8. I therefore pass sentence on Charge 1 on the basis that the great majority of the drugs concerned were in your possession for thepurpose of trafficking. If I had been satisfied that all those drugs were for the purpose of trafficking, I would have adopted astarting point of 6 years’ imprisonment on Charge 1. In the circumstances that some may have been for your own consumption, Iadopt a starting point of 5½ years’ imprisonment.

9. Insofar as the drugs that are the subject of Charge 2 are concerned, I adopt an initial starting point of 18 months’ imprisonment. Bearing in mind that the drugs were concealed in five different packages in your underpants, I consider that there was a significantrisk that you might be tempted to pass some or all of them on to others. The overall starting point I therefore adopt is 2 years’imprisonment on Charge 2.

10. You have pleaded guilty to both charges and are therefore entitled to the usual discount of one-third. I do not consider that anyother factor urged upon me in mitigation warrants any further discount.

11. On Count 1, I sentence you to 44 months’ imprisonment.

12. On Count 2, I sentence you to 16 months’ imprisonment.

13. Both sentences are to run concurrently with each other, and therefore the total sentence that I pass on you today is one of 3 years8 months’ imprisonment.

P.K.M. Longley
District Court Judge