HKSAR v. LAU KWOK PO

DCCC228/2010

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 228 OF 2010

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HKSAR
v.
Lau Kwok-po (D1)

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Before:

Deputy District Judge H.F. Woo

Date:

13 May 2010 at 11.20 am

Present:

Mr Chua Man-pang, William, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Jonathan Acton-Bond, instructed by Simon C W Yung & Co., for the 1st Defendant
Mr Lai Yiu-kuen, Dominic, of Dominic Y K Lai & Co., assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the 2nd Defendant

Offence:

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

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Reasons for Sentence

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Charge

1. Both defendants were charged with and have pleaded guilty to an offence of trafficking in a dangerous drug which was contrary tosection 4(1)(a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Chapter 134.

Facts

2. The facts of this case can be summarised as follows. Sergeant 49115, PW1, disguised as a drug abuser and came to be acquainted withD1. In the afternoon on 4 January 2010, D1 contacted PW1 over the phone to offer to sell ketamine to PW1. PW1 met with D2 at an MTRstation on the same day as arranged. PW1 gave marked money of $3,800 to D2 who then led PW1 to a light goods vehicle NC 5901. BothPW1 and D2 boarded the vehicle with D1 on the driver seat, who then passed to PW1 a packet of dangerous drugs containing 45.83 grammesof a powder containing 24.29 grammes of ketamine.

3. The police operation then turned overt. D1 and D2 were arrested at the scene. $3,800 marked money were found in the trousers pocketof D2. D1 admitted under caution that:

(1) he was the one who had contacted PW1 to sell ketamine to PW1;

(2) he helped D2 to contact the buyer and would be given reward if profit was to be made.

D2 admitted under caution that he brought PW1 to meet D1 in return for some stuff for self-consumption.

Background and Mitigation of D1

4. D1, aged 27, single, and lived with his parents and elder sister. He was gainfully employed after he had completed his Form 3 education.He was a gas technician and was highly regarded by his colleagues and friends. He maintained a good and stable monthly income offorty to fifty thousand dollars, out of which he contributed $20,000 to his parents constantly.

5. He was a drug addict of ketamine for the past 10 years and has three previous conviction records, all of possession in a dangerousdrug. He was last convicted in August 2009 for the same offence and was sent to DATC for treatment. Soon after his release in December2009 and within one month’s time, he was caught committing the present offence which was of a much more serious nature. His parentswere disappointed and saddened by the defendant’s repeated involvement in the drugs. They failed to understand that a youngsterwith a good job and a good income would get himself involved in trafficking in dangerous drugs for reward. However, they begged forleniency.

Sentence Tariff

6. The Court of Appeal in Secretary for Justice v Hii Siew Cheng CAAR7 of 2006 had set out sentencing tariff after trial for traffickers in ketamine. For quantity between 10 to 50 grammes, a sentenceof 4 to 6 years’ imprisonment would be warranted. Mr Acton-Bond has fairly, properly and eloquently put forward his mitigation.However, in this case, the most powerful mitigating factor, as Mr Acton-Bond has submitted, was the defendant’s guilty plea.

7. Having fully considered the circumstances of the case, D1’s background, counsel’s mitigation and the sentencing guidelines laiddown by the Court of Appeal, this court will adopt a starting point of 4 years and 3 months, i.e. 51 months. Upon plea, defendantis entitled to the usual one-third discount. Such sentence will be reduced to 34 months’ imprisonment. For his co-operation withthe police, this court is prepared to give a further reduction of 2 months. There were no other factors in D1’s case which wouldjustify a further discount. As such, D1 has to serve a 32 months’ imprisonment.

H F Woo
Deputy District Judge