CRIMINAL CASE NO. 146 OF 2010
COURT: Wong Chi-lok, you have been committed for sentence to this court following your plea of guilty before a magistrate to traffickingin dangerous drugs, namely 276.72 grammes of heroin hydrochloride, which was contained in a slightly larger mixture which you broughtinto Hong Kong through the border at Lok Ma Chau. The drugs were concealed in your clothing.
You made a confession of guilt when you were stopped, and the drugs were seized, and you have at all times accepted your responsibility.
The drugs had an estimated street value of about $360,000.
As you know, the sentence for trafficking in dangerous drugs in Hong Kong is based upon the narcotic quantity of the drugs involvedin that trafficking: here, 276 grammes.
The Court of Appeal has laid down guidelines which must be followed by sentencing courts so as to achieve a broad consistency betweendifferent cases. Your case falls into the bracket covering trafficking in 200 to 400 grammes of heroin, for which a sentence of 12to 15 years’ imprisonment is prescribed.
Of course, those terms of imprisonment are the sentences which would be imposed after trial following a not guilty plea. Where anoffender like you has pleaded guilty, there is a substantial discount to be applied.
On the other hand, this court, in determining the proper starting point, is also entitled to take into account the fact that the drugshave, as here, been imported into Hong Kong by the offender, because that is an aggravation of the offence. It makes it more serious.
Taking into account the quantity of drugs involved and the fact that you imported those drugs, I judge the proper starting point -that is, before any discount to reflect your plea of guilty – is 13 years’ imprisonment.
That starting point could be a little higher in the circumstances, but I am satisfied that, given your full co‑operation throughout,13 years is appropriate.
Now, as you have pleaded guilty, your sentence is to be cut by one-third to account for that. I cannot apply a greater discount justbecause you pleaded guilty in the magistracy. It is true that some offenders wait until their case gets to the trial day and thenthey plead guilty, and they are also allowed the same one-third discount. However, I have sought to keep the starting point for sentencein your case as low as possible.
That one-third discount for your guilty plea also takes into account the other mitigation, including your personal circumstances whichhave been outlined to me by Mr Boyton on your behalf today.
Therefore, the sentence I impose upon you in respect of this offence is one of 8 years and 8 months’ imprisonment.