CRIMINAL CASE NO. 430 OF 2010
COURT: You have pleaded guilty to a single charge of trafficking in dangerous drugs.
The summary of facts that you agreed shows that you entered Hong Kong on 19 June last year from Bangkok. You were intercepted. Afteryou had been searched, nothing was found but you went sent off to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. You were x-rayed and internally werefound to be a number of foreign objects which in the passage of time you excreted and were found to contain the total amount of drugsreferred to in the charge.
There was an aggregate amount of 1,266.11 grammes of a mixture which contained 797.33 grammes of heroin hydrochloride and 177.83 grammesof monoacetylmorphine hydrochloride.
The summary of facts which you agreed asserted that heroin and monoacetylmorphine are both acetylation products of morphine. Heroinproduced by the chemical process of acetylation may contain a certain amount of monoacetylmorphine due to incomplete acetylation.Morphine may also be partially hydrolysed by moisture to form monoacetylmorphine. Like heroin hydrochloride, monoacetylmorphine hydrochlorideis a narcotic analgesic with similar potency and was a salt of ester of morphine. Heroin hydrochloride and monoacetylmorphine hydrochloridetogether can also be named as salts of esters of morphine.
In the circumstances, the appropriate course to me seems to be to add together the two quantities of drugs and that comes to a littleover 975 grammes that you imported into Hong Kong.
The guidelines are now quite clearly laid down. In the more recent case of HKSAR v Abdallah, the Court of Appeal indicated that for quantities between 600 and 1200 grammes of heroin hydrochloride, the appropriate startingpoint after trial was 20 to 23 years. The quantity you have brings you a little over halfway up that scale and I consequently takea starting point of 22 years after trial.
The Court of Appeal went on to say that for quantities over 1 kilogram – and you have less than a kilogram by slightly less than 25grammes – there would be the enhancement of not less than 2 years for the factor of importation of the drugs into Hong Kong.
It seems to me in all the circumstances that I could take an enhancement figure of 1 year in your case, resulting in a total sentencebefore any discount of 23 years’ imprisonment.
Obviously, you are entitled to a full one-third discount for your early plea of guilty. There is nothing in the commission of theoffence itself which entitles you to any further reduction, nor is there anything in your personal circumstances which have beenmade known to me.
The consequence is that you are to serve a period of 15 years and 4 months’ imprisonment.