Sze Lai-nar


Before: H H Judge S. D’Almada Remedios

Date: 6 September 2012 at 10.54 am


Ms Irene Poon Oi Lin, PP, of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Wong Yiu Tak, of S K Wong & Co., assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Defendant

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


Reasons for Sentence


1. Defendant, you have pleaded guilty to a charge of trafficking in a dangerous drug, contrary to section 4(1) and (a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

2. You admitted that on 16 May 2012, you unlawfully trafficked in 26.78 grammes of a mixture containing 21.95 grammes of heroin hydrochloride. On the day in question at about 10.14 in the morning, you were seen acting suspiciously by police officers and they interceptedyou immediately. At the time, you were carrying your one year old son. On your body was found a cigarette box hidden in your trouserswhich contained 25 pellets of white powder which was wrapped by a piece of newspaper. You were arrested and cautioned for traffickingin a dangerous drug and you admitted that you had intended to sell the drugs in order to make a living.

3. You later brought the police back to your house at Wong Chuk Street, Sham Shui Po for a house search and there the officers foundfive resealable bags identical to the one that was found upon you and in each five bags contained 25 pellets of white powder. Undercaution, you again admitted that they were for the purposes of trafficking.

4. Under a video-recorded interview, again you admitted that you intended to sell the drugs and that was how you made a living. Theestimated street value of the drugs was $20,272. You had said you would sell each cigarette box of drugs for $3,500.

5. You are 47 years of age and a widow with two sons aged one and 12. You have five previous convictions of which consists of sixdifferent charges, three of which are for possession of dangerous drugs and the last sentence you received was three days ago inthe Magistracy for two charges of conspiracy to defraud to which you were sentenced to a total of 15 months’ imprisonment. Thatcharge related to bogus marriages that you had registered for two different men and was committed prior to this offence.

6. Mr Wong, your solicitor, has made full mitigation on your behalf this morning and I have taken into account all that he has hadto say. In July 2011, whilst you were serving sentence at the Drug Addiction Treatment Centre your husband passed away from a heartattack. At that time, he was the only person looking after your two sons, therefore soon after that your sons were placed in thecare of either in an orphanage and a foster home. When you were released from DATC, you borrowed some $10,000 to $20,000 to setup a new home so that you could look after your own sons. As you were heavily in debt you then foolishly resorted to trafficking. I am also told by Mr Wong that in your desperate state, that is why you also committed the two offences in respect of the bogusmarriages.

7. Mr Wong recognises that this case falls squarely within the Court of Appeal case of Lau Tak Ming in the bracket of 10 to 50 grammes of which the starting point is between 5 and 8 years’ imprisonment. Clearly, I am sure you knowand recognise that trafficking is a very serious offence. I acknowledge you were in financial constraints and you have two youngchildren to look after however that is no rationale to be committing such a serious offence. I also understand that your childrenare now in different homes and in a difficult predicament, however this is not an exception to reduce any term of imprisonment towhich you should properly serve.

8. Quite correctly, Mr Wong has said you readily admitted the offence at the very first instance and continued to do so when you wereinterviewed and before the court. Your plea of guilty is by far your strongest mitigating factor and by your letter and your pleaI accept you are remorseful.

9. The amount of drugs involved in this case is a very large indeed and comes at the uppermost end of the courts sentencing jurisdiction.

10. You were trafficking in 21.95 grammes of heroin and following the guidelines of Lau Tak Ming, had I convicted you after trial I would have taken a starting point of 5 years and 9 months’ imprisonment. However, on givingyou full credit for your plea of guilty, I reduce that term to one of 3 years and 10 months’ imprisonment.

11. I bear in mind when passing this sentence that you had been sentenced to a term of 15 months’ imprisonment just three days agoand taking into account the principle of totality, I consider that for these three offences you should serve a total term of 52 months. Therefore, the sentence for this offence would be partly consecutive and partly concurrent to your present term. That means 37months of this term is to run consecutive to your present 15 months and 9 months is to run concurrent. That means, defendant, youwill be serving a total of 4 years and 4 months’ imprisonment.

(S. D’Almada Remedios)
District Judge