HKSAR v. CHEUNG MAN CHUNG

DCCC595/2011

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 595 OF 2011

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HKSAR
v.
Cheung Man-chung (D1)

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Before: H H Judge Geiser

Date: 24 October 2011 at 10.03 am

Present: Ms Chan Sze-yan, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Lam Chi-yau, of C Y Lam & Co., assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the 1st Defendant

Offence: (1), (3) & (4) Trafficking in a dangerous drug (販運危險藥物)

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Reasons for Sentence

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1. D1, you have pleaded guilty to two charges of trafficking in a dangerous drug, contrary to section 4(1)(a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Cap.134, Laws of Hong Kong, those being Charges 1 and 4 on the indictment.

2. Charge 1 is a charge that you, on 15 May 2010, at the Single Bar in Tuen Mun trafficked in 0.45 grammes of ketamine, whilst Charge4 is a charge of you trafficking in 0.49 grammes of ketamine at the Single Bar on 16 July 2010.

3. Both of these offences involved you selling these drugs for $200 on each occasion to a police officer who was operating undercover.

4. The operation turned overt on 19 January 2011, and it was on 24 January 2011, whilst you were serving a sentence of DATC in relationto another offence, that you were arrested. You had been sentenced to DATC on 13 December 2010 and were discharged from it on 29April 2011.

5. It seems to me that although the police operation which resulted in your arrest was covert, you could and possibly should have beenarrested immediately after the commission of the 4th charge in July 2010. Had this happened, it may well be that the offence forwhich you were sent to DATC in December 2010 could have been pre-empted. I say “may” because I am unsure as to when that offenceoccurred. However, be that as it may, the fact remains that the two offences for which you are to be dealt with by this court todayoccurred some 6 to 7 months before you were sent to DATC. I believe that this is something that I should take into account in sentencingyou.

6. You are 23 years of age and have a poor criminal record, particularly for drug-related offences. Indeed, this is now your thirdconviction for trafficking in dangerous drugs.

7. I have before me a background probation officer’s report and also a community service suitability report. I say straight awaythat you are not recommended to be the subject of a Community Service Order and I decline to make such an order.

8. The background probation report is quite an encouraging report. The officer confirms that since your discharge from DATC in April2011 you have stayed away from dangerous drugs and resumed working as an electrical worker. In addition to this, rather than associatingwith your old peers, you spend your free time fishing with your father and have expressed your determination in leading a law-abidinglife.

9. Nonetheless, trafficking in ketamine is a serious offence and its abuse prevalent amongst young people. I note again that thisis your third conviction now for trafficking in dangerous drugs.

10. For trafficking in small amounts of ketamine up to one gramme, the court has a discretion in terms of sentence.

11. On each charge I adopt a starting point of 9 months’ imprisonment. I will discount this by one-third to take account of yourplea of guilty, coming to 6 months’ imprisonment on each charge, and whilst the sentences should normally be ordered to run consecutivelyas these are two distinct offences separated in time by 2 months, in order to reflect the matters that I have referred to, I willorder them to run concurrently with each other, arriving at an overall sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment in all.

H H Judge Geiser
District Judge