IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE
HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
CRIMINAL CASE NO. 829 OF 2011
Reasons for Sentence
Charge and facts
1. The Defendant pleads guilty to trafficking in a dangerous drug, namely 11.86 g of a solid containing 9.17 g of cocaine. In theearly morning on 18 May 2011, 2 C&E officers stopped the Defendant and a male at the staircase of a residential car park in LaiChi Kok, Kowloon. From his jeans pocket was found a bag containing the said drug in 42 smaller bags. Under caution he said thedrug was for self-consumption.
The street value of the drug was estimated to be $21,189.
Personal background and mitigation
2. He was 17 when arrested and is 18 now. He ceased schooling after F. 1. He worked as an air-conditioning worker for 3 months, thena cook in a Japanese restaurant before arrest. He has been a drug abuser since 4 years ago. He committed the present offence tomake money to help repay his father’s credit card loans.
3. He has 3 previous records, 2 for violence and 1 for possession of drug, resulting in 18 months’ probation, which was satisfactorilycompleted before the present offence.
4. Based on his history of addiction and his detention for 5 months so far, his counsel expressly wishes for a non-institutional sentence. I also find a prison term more appropriate.
Prison sentence for cocaine traffickers
5. In Attorney General v Rojas  1 HKC 342, which was a case of trafficking in cocaine, Silke VP observed that the psychotropic harm of cocaine was comparable to that of heroin. The sentencing guidelines in R v Lau Tak-ming  2 HKLR 370, which set out the tariff sentences for trafficking in heroin, is equally applicable. For cocaine up to 10 g, the sentence shallbe 2–5 years.
Sentencing this Defendant
6. Although the Defendant claimed self-consumption, his counsel has informed me that the said drug was actually for trafficking, hisrole being a courier for reward. I take 4 years as the starting point. His plea of guilty shall attract a one-third discount. Thesentence shall be 32 months.