HKSAR v. YAU KA WAI

DCCC 429/2015

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE

HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION

CRIMINAL CASE NO 429 OF 2015

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HKSAR
v
Yau Ka-wai

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Before: HH Judge Yiu

Date: 16 July 2015 at 3.22 pm

Present: Ms Janice Cheuk, PP of the Department of Justice, for HKSAR
Mr John M Pickavant, of Messrs John M Pickavant & Co, for the defendant

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

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Reasons for Sentence

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1. Defendant pleaded guilty to trafficking in a dangerous drug, contrary to Section 4(1)(a) and (3) of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

2. In the afternoon of 1 April 2015, defendant was observed entering a park near Pak Tin Shopping Arcade. He sat on a bench and tookout a white item from the right pocket of his shorts and placed it near his left foot. He then made a phone call and about 20 minuteslater a male known as “Ko Hoi-fai” approached. Defendant picked up something out of the white item and handed it to Ko, whileKo gave him $100 and left.

3. Police immediately intercepted and still found the white item on the ground, which were 65 resealable plastic bags of 44.8 grammesof powder containing 21.81 grammes of ketamine.

4. In defendant’s left hand it was found the said 100-banknote and he was also in possession of 2 mobile phones and there was about$3,000-odd also found on him.

5. Under caution, defendant admitted that “Kit Jai” asked him to sell the ketamine and defendant also asked for a chance, whilefor Ko, he was arrested with possession of a plastic bag of 0.67 grammes of powder containing ketamine.

6. The street value of all drugs found is about $4,500 and defendant now admits trafficking in all the above drugs found.

7. Defendant will turn 18 years old next week. He has a clear record. Mr Pickavant submits that he pleaded guilty at the earliestopportunity and he came from a broken family, where defendant was most often left unattended. Defendant had been working in a Japaneserestaurant, but at the time of the offence he was unemployed.

8. Mr Pickavant also submits that defendant was of such a young age, just 17 years 9 months old when he committed the offence, in whicha training centre might be a suitable option to consider.

9. Defendant also submits a letter saying that he had already learnt a hard lesson while in custody. He was very remorseful and regrettedso much for what he has done.

10. Trafficking in a dangerous drug is a very serious offence. Court of Appeal in Secretary for Justice v Hii Siew Cheng CAAR 7/2006 and HKSAR v Sin Chung Kin CACC 458/2011 had laid down the sentencing guidelines, trafficking in ketamine from 10 to 15 grammes, 4 to 6 years’ imprisonmentshall be imposed.

11. In the present case, the ketamine involved was 21.81 grammes. The starting point should be around 4½ years’ imprisonment.

12. Further, although the defendant is of young age, 17 years 9 months old, that would not justify a departure from the guideline ofcustodial sentence, as stated in Secretary for Justice v Chau Tsz Tim CAAR 4/2014,

“Drug trafficking is an evil business”. “[I]rrespective of” the “background or” “circumstances where “offences”were “committed”, traffickers “can expect no mercy, otherwise the ‘aged’”, “‘young’ or the ‘crippled’ willbe encouraged to take part”. When “dealing with serious drug trafficking offences”, “the public interest requires that deterrenceof other offenders must take precedence over the rehabilitation of the particular offender before it”. “[T]herefore”, it was“not in the interest of the community to sentence even young offenders” “to” “Training Centre”.”

13. Taking into account all the circumstances and mitigation submitted, I shall adopt a starting point of 4 years and 3 months’ imprisonment,and that be reduced to 34 months’ imprisonment upon guilty plea.

14. Therefore, the defendant is sentenced to 34 months’ imprisonment.

(Yiu)
District Judge