IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
CRIMINAL CASE NO 477 OF 2014
COURT: On 7 November last you pleaded guilty and admitted the facts and were convicted at Eastern Magistrates Court. Today you have confirmedyour plea of guilty, your admission of the facts, and I have convicted you.
The charge to which you have pleaded guilty involves 972.80 grammes of a mixture containing 561.16 grammes of heroin hydrochlorideand 103.08 grammes of 6‑monoacetylmorphine hydrochloride.
What happened is as follows. At around 4.40 pm on 7 April last, you arrived at the airport on a flight from Kilimanjaro. You wereintercepted and being suspected of internally concealing dangerous drugs, you were sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. There an X rayconfirmed the presence of foreign bodies in your intestines.
Under caution you admitted to swallowing 77 pellets of heroin in Tanzania. You said that had you successfully delivered the drugsto whom you were meant to deliver them, you would have received a reward of US$6,000. In fact, in due course, 78 pellets were dischargedand they contained the dangerous drugs, the subject of the charge. The estimated street value of those drugs being in total, $655,667.20.
You are a man of clear record in Hong Kong. On your behalf, Mr Mughal has corrected the antecedent statement. I have no reason todisbelieve those corrections. That now tells me that you are 65 years of age, a widower with seven young children.
Prior to arrest, you worked as a farmer, earning some 30 to US$60 per month. You were educated to Primary 4 and you claim not to beaddicted to dangerous drugs.
On your behalf, Mr Mughal entered mitigation. He produced to me a letter that you have written and I have taken that into account.In that letter you explain what happened and express your remorse. Mr Mughal explained why you committed this offence, though notby way of an excuse but by way of explanation, that you were in financial difficulties. That in 2012, your wife had died from cancerand much money had been spent on medical treatment. You had debts in the region of US$400 and were being pressed for repayment ofthose debts. That you saw the acquisition of $6,000 as a way to solve your problems.
It is accepted that you tempted by necessity to pay off your debts and also greed. I note that by carrying drugs in this way you placedyour life in danger, and of course, your liberty, the latter of which is to be forfeited.
Your role was that of a mule, a carrier of drugs, but a necessary in the wheel of drug dealing. I am told that you are a Christian,a Catholic, that you have maintained your faith whilst on remand and I note that the Father is here to support you.
Quite rightly Mr Mughal identifies the major point of mitigation being your timely plea of guilty at the first available opportunity.The following sentence will be imposed.
In respect of the charge, I take a starting point of 20 years and 3 months. Because of the international aspect of this, that willbe enhanced by 15 months, making a total of 21 years and 6 months as a starting point.
To reflect your plea of guilty, you will have the full one‑third discount. You will therefore go to prison for 14 years and 4 months.