HKSAR v. LAI KAM WAI

HCCC 40/2013

IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE

CRIMINAL CASE NO 40 OF 2013

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HKSAR
v
Lai Kam-wai (黎錦威)

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Before: The Honourable Madam Justice Beeson

Date: 27 March 2013 at 9.52 am

Present: Mr P J Power, SADPP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Jonathan Kwan, instructed by S H Chan & Co, assigned by DLA, 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 25 January 2013 to one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug. The drug was27.21 grammes of a crystalline solid containing 26.08 grammes of methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly known as “Ice”.

Today, he confirmed his plea and confirmed also the facts that he admitted at committal.

Those facts were that he was intercepted by police who were conducting an anti-dangerous drug operation near Hoi Lai Estate in CheungSha Wan. He was searched and police found a plastic bag containing suspected dangerous drug in the right front pocket of his trousers.After arrest and caution, he said that he sold the dangerous drug “Ice” because he did not have a job and did not have enough moneyfor his expenses.

In a later video interview, he claimed that, at the scene, he had told the officers that he had bought “Ice”, not that he had soldit. He told the police that he had bought the dangerous drugs from a man in that area before so, that he knew there might be dangerousdrugs kept in the flowerbed. On that day, he had insufficient money for dangerous drugs so he had gone there on the off-chance thatthere might be some dangerous drugs in the flowerbed. He said he had the dangerous drugs for his own consumption but would also shareit with friends. He told police he had a drug habit and no income.

The defendant has a lengthy record starting with his first adult conviction on 7 July 1994, his last conviction being on 22 October2011. Twenty-four court appearances are listed; they cover a total of 32 charges. He has four drug convictions, the first on 29 December1995 and the last on 3 October 2001. None is for trafficking and it was only the last conviction that attracted a prison sentence.

Fourteen charges relate to dishonesty and include two robbery convictions and one attempted robbery. There was one AOABH, two criminalintimidation, three resisting or assaulting a police officer, one of common assault, one of criminal damage and a breach of suspendedsentence. He was sent to Drug Addiction Treatment Centre in 1997 and 1999. He was last discharged from DATC on 9 March 2012. Thatis probably an indication that he was sent to DATC by the Commissioner for Correctional Services during the course of his last sentenceof imprisonment.

The defendant is now aged 37. He was born in Hong Kong and educated to Form 1 level. At the time of his arrest, he was unemployedand receiving CSSA. He is single and said he has been taking “Ice” since he was 18 years old.

I was advised in mitigation that the defendant’s mother died when he was 4, his father died when he was 10 and his grandmother,who stood in for the parents, died when he was about 19. His drug addiction appears to have started at that time.

I have considered sentence in this case. The only mitigating feature is the defendant’s plea of guilty. I note the guideline sentencesfor “Ice” as in A.G. v Ching Kwok-hung [1991]2HKLR. This narcotic quantity of 26.08g comes within the 7 to 10 year bracket.

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