HKSAR v. WONG CHUN-HO

DCCC1254/2009

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO. 1254 OF 2009

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HKSAR
v.
Wong Chun-ho

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Before: Deputy District Judge Woodcock

Date: 16 December 2009 at 10.36 am

Present: Miss Eva Chan, PP, of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr Yip Wai-chuen, Paul, of Messrs Yip & Partners, assigned by the Director of Legal Aid, for the Defendant

Offence: (1) & (2) Trafficking in a dangerous drug (販運危險藥物)

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Reasons for Sentence

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1. The defendant has pleaded guilty to two charges of trafficking dangerous drugs.

2. The first involves a quantity of ketamine where the purity is 1.23 grammes. The second involves a quantity of ketamine with a purityof 29.81 grammes. That is a total of 31.04 grammes of ketamine purity.

3. The facts of the case are very straightforward. On 18 September 2009 at 5.52 pm police officers were laying ambush outside a premisesin Kowloon City when the defendant came out of these premises.

4. They stopped and searched the defendant and found the quantity of ketamine related to the 1st charge on the defendant’s person.He immediately admitted that he was delivering those drugs for others.

5. He was then arrested and cautioned whereupon he admitted the ketamine was for sale to his customers.

6. There was a search of the premises he had just exited. The search was possible as the key to the premises was found on the defendant.

7. Inside the premises, three resealable plastic bags containing a total of 123.07 grammes of a powder containing a purity of 29.81grammes of ketamine were found. They were found on a table alongside electronic scales and a spoon, paraphernalia normally associatedwith measuring and weighing drugs.

8. The defendant was further cautioned and he admitted that that quantity of ketamine would also be sold to customers. In a subsequentvideo record of interview he gave further details that the key to the flat was given to him by a man called Ah Lui and he dealt withthe ketamine inside the premises, would pack them into smaller packets to take to a game centre nearby to look for customers.

9. The factors I consider relevant are as follows. The defendant fully cooperated with the police upon his arrest. He made full admissions.He indicated that he would plead guilty at the first opportunity. Although he has five previous convictions starting from 2003, thisis his first drug-related offence. His best mitigation is his plea of guilty today.

10. I have heard full mitigation relating to the defendant’s background, his upbringing and the fact that he is now very remorsefuland will turn over a new leaf when released from prison.

11. From the defendant’s admissions I can gather he was not only a courier but he would pack the drugs and also sell on the drugs.There is no evidence that the defendant is a mastermind and I have been told he would not have been able to afford to buy this quantityof drugs in the first place. I have heard in mitigation that he was paid a daily wage of $500 to $600.

12. The fact that he would go to an amusement game centre to locate customers is, in my view, serious. Amusement game centres are fullof young people who will be tempted if offered dangerous drugs. That is one of the reasons why trafficking in dangerous drugs offencesmust be seriously dealt with and deterred.

13. I have considered the criminality involved here. I have also considered the guidelines as set out in the authority of the Secretary of Justice v Hii Siew Cheng CAAR No. 7 of 2006. The guidelines set down by the Court of Appeal, which apply here are as follows: where between 10 to 50 grammesof ketamine or Ecstasy is involved, it would attract a sentence of between four to six years.

14. There are two charges here, both will be dealt with concurrently. The two charges arise out of one transaction in my view, he wasdelivering part of the whole amount of 31.04 grammes, hence two charges.

15. A global approach to a starting point would be appropriate in these circumstances. Having considered mitigation, the defendant’splea, the drug quantity and the guidelines set down, his background and the fact that this is his first drug-related offence, I willconsider a global starting point of 4 years and 9 months appropriate.

16. The defendant is entitled to a one-third discount for his plea; that would be a discount of 19 months, which would leave a sentenceof 38 months, which is 3 years and 2 months.

17. Defendant, please stand up. This is how I intend to deal with sentence. Charge 1, I will impose a 1 year and 4 month sentence. Charge2, I will impose a sentence of 3 years and 2 months. Both to be served concurrently, a total of 3 years and 2 months.

18. The defendant is presently serving a sentence imposed on 20 October this year, a 4 month sentence imposed in TWCC3178 of 2009. Theoffence deals with a copyright offence. Today’s sentence of 3 years and 2 months will be ordered to be served consecutively tothat sentence.

A. J. Woodcock
Deputy District Judge