IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
CRIMINAL CASE NO 37 OF 2015
Transcript of the Audio Recording
COURT: The defendant has pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug, namely 2.8 kilogrammes of a suspension containing 1.47 kilogrammes of cocaine.
The facts are now all too common in Hong Kong. The defendant arrived on a flight from Brazil via South Africa on 19 April last year.Upon a search of his suitcase was found a shopping bag containing four tinfoil packs, purportedly to contain sauce. Upon cuttingopen one of the tinfoil packs, whitish liquid in a plastic bag was found suspended in orange liquid. A preliminary test indicatedthat the whitish liquid was positive for cocaine.
Subsequently, all the tinfoil packs were examined, and the plastic bags’ contents were examined by the Government Chemist, and resultingin the amount of cocaine as indicated in the charge. The estimated street value is HK$2,858,800.
Inquiries reveal that the defendant had left Brazil for Hong Kong via South Africa, and he had reserved a flight to leave Hong Kongon 28 April 2014. It was also discovered that the defendant had, on 4 April 2014 been issued a Chinese issue in Bogota, Colombia,which allowed him to enter mainland China before 4 July 2014.
When interviewed and under caution, the defendant claimed that he did not know that dangerous drugs were contained in the tinfoilpacks, but now he accepts that he knew they were drugs and he was trafficking in the cocaine.
The defendant is aged 61, and has a clear record, I am told, in Colombia and, of course, in Hong Kong. The background of the defendantis that he is a widower and with two grown-up children. He was self-employed and he was not a drug addict.
In mitigation, Mr Tse pointed out that the defendant committed the present offence because he needed money for his mother’s urgentoperation, and in his letter to the court, he says that he is remorseful for what he has done, and he apologises to his family, andalso to the people of Hong Kong.
Now, it is always a sad matter to deal with couriers of dangerous drugs who carry drugs into Hong Kong for money. There is alwaysa sad reason behind it. However, the courts cannot be sympathetic because we have to protect Hong Kong people from the evil of dangerousdrugs. The Court of Appeal has laid down guidelines for the sentencing of trafficking in cocaine in the case of Abdallah, which stated that for trafficking in between 1.2 kilogrammes to 4 kilogrammes of cocaine, it would merit an imprisonment of 23 to26 years.
In the present case, the defendant was trafficking in 1.47 kilogrammes, and I would adopt a starting point of 23 years’ imprisonment.
It was also mentioned in the Abdallah case that the sentence is aggravated by the fact of the importation of the drugs from overseas, which is an international elementin the offence, and therefore the court has to take that into account and increase the sentence by what I consider an appropriate2 years.
So the total starting point will be 25 years’ imprisonment. The defendant has pleaded guilty to this offence, he is entitled tothe full one-third off for his plea.
So having discounted one-third from the 25 years, the defendant will go to prison for 16 years and 8 months.