DCCC 168/2014





Wong Chung-sing


Before: HH Judge Woodcock

Date: 15 May 2014 at 10.39 am

Present: Mr Andrew Raffell, Counsel on fiat, for HKSAR
Mr Ho Chun-lui, Jeff, instructed by Y L Yeung & 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 one charge of trafficking in a dangerous drug, contrary to section 4(1)(a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Cap 134. The particulars are that on 20 December last year in Tuen Mun, you unlawfully trafficked in a dangerous drug, namely 14.04grammes of a mixture containing 8.92 grammes of heroin hydrochloride.

2. The facts of this case are very straightforward. It is a stop-and search scenario. In the early hours of the morning certain policeofficers were on anti-dangerous drugs operation. They spotted you acting and looking furtive and nervous. The police were veryintuitive and suspected you of some crime. You were stopped and searched, and in the cuff of your jacket the police found a plasticbag. In that plastic bag was white powder later confirmed to be heroin. The dangerous drugs is agreed to be worth $11,500 odd.

3. The police also found on your person HK$8,000 odd, some RMB and a mobile with two SIM cards.

4. At the scene you were arrested, cautioned and you made an admission at the scene. You admitted you were a drug mule carrying thedrugs for a reward of $500. You made a further video-recorded interview at the police station and confirmed that the drugs you werecarrying was heroin.

5. You are now 47 years old. You do have previous convictions. In fact, you have a terrible criminal record. Your first offencewas committed when you were only 19 years old. In total, there are 22 previous convictions. What concerns me is the three similarconvictions for trafficking in dangerous drugs. The first was committed in 2000 and the last in 2010. Moreover, between 1994 and2011 you have five previous convictions for possession of dangerous drugs.

6. I have considered the mitigation put forward on your behalf. The best mitigation is your plea today. You made a full and frankadmission to the police that you were acting as a courier for a $500 reward. I have been told that you were only to be paid whenthe drugs were delivered, so obviously you were not paid for this trip.

7. I have been given two letters of mitigation today. The first being a letter from your employer confirming he employed him for $8,000a month, and what it says is that he is willing to re-employ you. The second letter is from your girlfriend who asks for leniencyon your behalf. She said that when you were released from prison for your last offence, you turned over a new leaf. You did notcommit any offences for a year. You were cohabitating with Miss Lee. And what happened late last year was that she became pregnantand aborted the baby without your knowledge. I have been told that when you found out, you were very upset, emotional and went offthe rails again.

8. You started to take drugs again having stayed away from drugs for a period of time. It seems that you spent about $2,000 a weekon heroin which would mean that most of your income was spent on your habit. So you turned to trafficking dangerous drugs for cash. Now, your girlfriend says that she has forgiven you, supports you and is here in court today.

9. I have been told that part of the mitigation was a portion of this heroin would be given to you as part-payment of your job foryour delivery. However, when you were arrested, you only told the police that you would be paid $500 per trip. Certainly no mentionwas made that you would get a portion of the drugs for your own consumption. It has been explained that you would just take somewhen the drugs were delivered. However, there is no evidence that you had in your possession any small plastic bags or spoons orscales or anything to divide up a bit and carry it away.

10. I have my doubts whether any of this heroin was ever to be yours. I am sure what your reward was was a monetary benefit of $500,not an additional portion of heroin on top of that, bearing in mind that a third of the heroin would have been worth nearly $4,000. I do not doubt you are a drug addict or were a drug addict, and you needed money to fuel or feed your drug habit. But I do notaccept that you were entitled to a part of this heroin as payment for delivery.

11. There are guidelines for trafficking drugs. For heroin, I looked at the authority of R v Lau Tak Ming [1992] HKLR 370. That authority sets out that where up to 10 grammes of heroin is trafficked, a starting point of between 2 to 5 years would be appropriate. In this case the starting point is nearly the 5-year starting point.

12. Yes, please stand up, Defendant. I have considered the mitigation put forward, your background, letters of mitigation, quantityof heroin, the fact that it is not your first trafficking dangerous drugs offence and your role here which is one of a courier. I have also considered the guideline set out in the authority I have just referred to.

13. After careful consideration, I will take as a starting point for this charge 4 years and 6 months’ imprisonment. You are entitledbecause you have pleaded today to a discount of one-third. For this offence, you are sentenced to 3 years’ imprisonment. Do youunderstand that sentence?

DEFENDANT: Understand.

A. J. Woodcock
District Judge