COURT: I have to sentence you both for trafficking in dangerous drugs. In the case of you, Mr Wong, you were convicted by a jury afteran unsuccessful attempt to avoid your liability by lying about it. You, Mr Han, pleaded guilty and gave evidence against Mr Wong.I will say now that I djudged you gave truthful evidence and I will give you full credit for it.
Accordingly, the factual basis is this, that Mr Wong was someone who knew how to shift cocaine and asked with your South Americanconnection whether you could obtain some. You both went into this with open eyes and it resulted in you, Mr Han, swallowing 35 condomswith 740 grammes of cocaine contained in them. You bought the drugs from Peru via Amsterdam to Hong Kong.
You, Mr Wong, received them in your own home and it is clear from the verdict of the jury you knew full well what you were doing andyou were going to sell the cocaine on.
You both know that sentencing for trafficking in dangerous drugs is controlled in Hong Kong by guidelines which are based on the natureand quantity of the drug. 750 grammes of cocaine after trial attracts a starting point of between in the bracket that starts at 20years and ends at 23 years.
You both bear obvious responsibility for bringing the dangerous drugs over international borders, an aggravation. In the circumstances,that aggravation will have to increase the starting point by 1 year.
I bear in mind, in your case, Mr Wong, that you are 65 years old, basically you have a clear criminal record and that you are notin good health. On the other hand, factors like that weigh little against the mischief of trafficking in dangerous drugs in thisquantity.
I remember also you are not just a simple courier, you were someone prepared to, in effect, set up this drug trafficking and you werethe man who was going to sell on in Hong Kong.
Balancing all of those factors, I shall take a starting point of 21 years. I shall add the 1 year for the international aggravationand that will give a sentence of 22 years’ imprisonment.
Turning to your case, Mr Han, you earn a one-third discount for your plea of guilty and I shall increase that discount to 50 per centby reason of the help that you gave in bringing your co‑accused to justice. That is a generous discount and you could not havecomplained if it had been slightly less.
I have wondered whether to take a different starting point in your case. In reaching the sentence for the 1st defendant I bore inmind his age and illness. In fact, he could not have complained if I would have passed a slightly higher sentence.
I have decided to take the same starting point in your case because, having heard the evidence in the trial, it struck me that infact you were friends and even though your roles were different it was very much a joint venture.
Not only that, but for this amount of cocaine you cannot expect to start with a sentence below the bottom of the bracket which is20 years. In the absence of any good reason not to I am bound to add the year for the international aggravation. Like your co‑accusedthat would result in a sentence of 22 years but you have the 50 per cent discount.
If ever there was a case that demonstrated the benefits of pleading guilty when you have done it and then further co‑operating withthe authorities, this is it, because your resulting sentence is one half of that of your co‑accused. It is 11 years.