HKSAR v. IP SZE HOI

HCCC139/2012

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 139 OF 2012

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HKSAR
v
Ip Sze-hoi (葉四海)
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Before: The Honourable Madam Justice Beeson

Date: 14 June 2012 at 9.52 am

Present: Ms Grace Chan, SPP, of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Suen Kam-hee, assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Accused

Offence: Trafficking in a dangerous drug (販運危險藥物)

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Transcript of the Audio Recording
of the Sentence in the above Case

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COURT: This defendant pleaded guilty at committal on 27 April 2012 to one charge of trafficking in a dangerous drug. The dangerousdrug was 139.55 grammes of a mixture which contained 101.65 grammes of heroin hydrochloride.

Today the defendant reaffirmed that plea and also confirmed the Summary of Facts that he admitted at committal.

Those facts show that police officers at Lok Ma Chau requested the assistance of the Immigration Department to intercept the defendanton his arrival from the Mainland to Hong Kong. The police observed that the defendant entered Hong Kong via the automated clearancechannel at Lok Ma Chau Arrival Hall. Customs Officers then intercepted the defendant and took him into a room for a search.

Although no suspicious items were found on the defendant, watermarks were found on his underpants and it was suspected that he wasconcealing drugs inside his body. He was taken to the North District Hospital and upon examination by X-ray, foreign objects werefound inside his rectum.

On the same day the defendant excreted 5 pellets of suspected dangerous drug. He was arrested and cautioned. Under caution he said:

“For these five packets of dangerous drugs someone in the Mainland told me to bring them into Hong Kong. I can earn $200 a packet.I think they may be white powder.”

Subsequently at an interview the defendant said that a man approached him at a bar/restaurant in Huangguan in the Mainland and offeredhim a job carrying a few pellets to Hong Kong for a reward of $200 a packet. The defendant inserted the five pellets into his anusin the toilet. He suspected at the time it was white powder.

He was instructed to go to Mongkok where somebody would meet him to deliver the drugs. He would be paid when he returned to the bar/restaurantin the Mainland. He crossed the border from the Mainland to Hong Kong by coach and he told the police that he committed the offenceout of greed.

Analysis by the Government Chemist showed that the quantity and type of drug as set in the particulars of charge. The estimate forthe market retail value of the total drugs seized was $112,477.

The immigration records show that the defendant left Hong Kong on 5 December 2011 at 7.45 am through the Lo Wu Control Point to theMainland and returned the same day at 2151 hours through the Lok Ma Chau Control Border Control Point.

The defendant admits and accepts that he knew the five pellets given to him in the Mainland were dangerous drugs and that he was trafficking.

The defendant has a record starting in 1973 and which ends in 1983. He has no previous trafficking, although there are three possessionof dangerous drug offences listed; in 1973, 1974 and 1983. The other offences which are 18 in number were comparatively minor offences.The longest term of imprisonment he has served was 15 months.

In mitigation I was advised that he is 58 years old, he is married, he has four daughters. He and his wife help take care of the grandchildren,which are the children of the second daughter. He was previously in business as a caterer and he has been on CSSA for over 10 yearsbecause he is disabled in his right hand.

It was urged on me that this was a plea at an early stage and that he was cooperative with the police insofar as he could be. Counselsays that he was persuaded to carry the drugs because he wanted extra money for his granddaughter’s kindergarten expenses.

The quantity of narcotic in this case is 101.65 grammes of heroin hydrochloride. The Lau Tak Ming guidelines show that a quantity of drugs between 50 and 200 grammes attracts a sentence of between 8 and 12 years’ imprisonment.

In this case I take a starting point of 8 years’ imprisonment, give the defendant one-third discount and sentence him to 5 yearsand 4 months’ imprisonment.