IN THE HIGH COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE
CRIMINAL CASE NO 573 OF 2013
Transcript of the Audio Recording
COURT: The defendant pleaded guilty before a magistrate of one charge of trafficking in dangerous drugs. Today he pleaded guilty againbefore me and stands convicted of the charge.
In sentencing I have considered the whole circumstances of the case including its nature and facts, in particular the type and quantityof the dangerous drugs involved, background of the defendant and mitigation put forward on his behalf.
The facts of the case may be summarised as follows. In a private car which the defendant had driven, two plastic bottles were found.One of the plastic bottles contained eight bags of ketamine and 18 bags of cocaine. The quantity of the drugs was 63.85 grammes ofa powder containing 49.20 grammes of ketamine and 3.70 grammes of a solid containing 2.59 grammes of cocaine.
The other bottle contained seven plastic bags of ketamine and 41 empty resealable plastic bags. The quantity of the drug was 92.07grammes of a powder containing 69.79 grammes of ketamine.
Further, on the person of the defendant, two bags of ketamine were found. The quantity of the drug was 26.30 grammes of a powder containing20.34 grammes of ketamine.
Under caution, the defendant admitted that he was helping someone to deliver the drugs for a reward of $1,000. At the time of arresthe was waiting for the call of a customer who was to collect the drugs.
I was told that the defendant is now 27 years old. He had received education up to Form 3 and then had worked in a garage. He wasliving with his parents. He occasionally abused “Ice”.
This is not the first conviction of the defendant. In 2004 when he was 16 years old he was on two occasions convicted of a total ofthree charges of acting as a member of a triad society and was sentenced to receive training in a training centre. In 2011, aboutseven years later, he was convicted of one charge of trafficking in a dangerous drug and was sentenced to 2 years and 10 months’imprisonment. He was discharged in August 2012.
Learned counsel for the defence, Mr Luk, urged me to take into account that the defendant is genuinely remorseful. He says after beingarrested the defendant was co-operative and made frank admission. He pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
Mr Luk informed the court that after his discharge from imprisonment the defendant made an attempt to turn over a new leaf. He workedin a garage. He also developed a steady relationship with a lady and they were planning to get married. He decided to start businessin transportation and for this purpose took steps to buy a van. He, however, needed a guarantor to complete the purchase. His fatherrefused his request. Feeling frustrated, he was lured to commit the present offence to earn some quick money.
Mr Luk also produced a letter written by the defendant in which he indicated his remorse. A letter written by the lady was also produced.She confirmed their relationship and pledged that she would still support the defendant. She has regular income and has been savingmoney for their future.
The total quantity of the drugs the defendant had trafficked in was 182.22 grammes of a powder containing 139.33 grammes of ketamineand 3.70 grammes of a solid containing 2.59 grammes of cocaine.
The Court of Appeal held in SJ v Hii Siew Cheng  1 HKLRD 1 that in a case of trafficking in ketamine if the narcotic content is between 50 to 300 grammes, the sentence should be 6 to 9 years.
For trafficking in cocaine the tariff in R v Lau Tak Ming  HKLR 370 is applicable. For the quantity of cocaine involved, a sentence with a starting point of 2 years can be imposed.
In my judgment, the combined approach is appropriate in this case. Ketamine was the more serious drug in this case in the light ofthe significant difference in quantity between the types of drugs.
Having considered the whole circumstances, in my judgment a starting point of 7 years is appropriate. The defendant is entitled toa one-third discount for his guilty plea and the remorse he has expressed.
In all the circumstances, having regard to what learned counsel has said on his behalf, I am of the view that this is the extent ofdiscount the defendant is entitled to.
Defendant, for those reasons, you are sentenced to an imprisonment term of 4 years and 8 months.