HKSAR v. TSANG SIU NGAU

DCCC 1338/2011

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1338 OF 2011

—————–

BETWEEN

HKSAR

and

TSANG Siu-ngau

—————–

Before: Deputy District Judge H.F. Woo

Date: 13 April 2012

Present: Miss Claudia KO, Public Prosecutor, for HKSAR/Director of Public Prosecution
Mr. BOYTON David Rex instructed by Philip Tsui & Jackson Cheung assigned by D.L.A. for Defendant

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

________________________

REASONS FOR SENTENCE

________________________

The Charge

1. The defendant was charged with and convicted of, after trial, a count of trafficking in a dangerous drug, namely, 180 grammes ofa powder containing 50 grammes of ketamine, such offence was contrary to section 4(1)(a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Cap 134.

The Facts

2. On 11 October 2011, the defendant was seen wandering at the 3/F corridor of Multifield Plaza, Nos. 3-7 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui,Kowloon by the police.

3. He was then intercepted and searched by the police. Upon search, 14 small packets of white powder containing 180 gm of a powdercontaining 50 gm of ketamine were found inside the right front pocket of the defendant’s sports trousers.

4. The defendant was arrested for the offence of Trafficking in a Dangerous Drug. Under caution, the defendant said he had nothingto say.

5. Amongst other things, 37 small transparent re-sealable plastic bags and an electronic scale with battery were found from the defendant’sshoulder bag carried by him.

Sentencing guidelines

6. The Court of Appeal in SJ v Hii Siew Cheng CAAR 7/2006 laid down sentencing tariffs for trafficking in ketamine after trial. For 10 to 50 grammes of ketamine, 4 to 6 years’imprisonment is called for. For 50 to 300 grammes of ketamine, 6 to 9 years’ imprisonment is warranted.

Other considerations

7. The defendant, aged 22, has a clear record. He was a kitchen worker earning $7,000 per month. The good character of the defendantwould have minimal relevance in offence of this nature. The accused in HKSAR v Bugaay [2008] 6 HKC 326, was convicted of drug trafficking. Stuart Moore VP said:

“The couriers who are selected by international drug syndicates to carry drugs of the value in the present case, almost invariablyhave no criminal record. Part of their usefulness to the syndicate is that they are able to pass as normal, law-abiding passengerswhatever their age group. In any event, as this court has so often said with reference to cases where serious criminal acts are concerned,a clear record (or good character) in itself is not a factor for which a discount is generally appropriate and age will usually berelevant only where extreme youth is concerned.”

8. Drug traffficking is a prevalent offence and a deterrent sentence is always called for. The defendant is 22 years old, he is youngbut was not of extreme youth. His previous good character could not be considered as a factor for which a discount/reduction isgenerally appropriate. Hence, clear record and youth of the defendant will not affect the starting point for sentence. The defendantwas caught red-handed and was convicted after trial.

9. Having fully considered the circumstances of the case and those of the defendant, the mitigation put forward by the defence counseland the sentencing tariff set out by the Court of Appeal, this court will adopt a starting point of 6 years for 50 grammes of ketamine. There is no mitigating factor in this case for any reduction in sentence. This court now imposes 6 years’ imprisonment on thedefendant.

( H.F. Woo )
Deputy District Judge