A 16-year-old girl was jailed for six years and seven months on Thursday, after pleading guilty to trafficking 590 grams of the drug ketamine disguised as packages of tea.
Chow Yuen-toa, who left school after Form Three and worked as a waitress and saleswoman, pleaded guilty to one count of drug trafficking in the Court of First Instance.
The former student of Maryknoll Fathers’ School in Sham Shui Po was caught after a police officer noticed her acting furtively, at Yau Lai Estate in Yau Tong, on June 26 this year.
The officer searched Chow’s handbag and found three packages wrapped in foil and labelled “Choice Tea Leaves”, acting senior public prosecutor Bobby Cheung Man-kwan told the court.
The substance in the packages was taken away and tested, and found to contain 590 grams of ketamine, with an estimated street value of HK$85,100.
The teenager had been promised a payment of HK$300 in return for collecting the ketamine in Tai Po and delivering it to someone called “Ah San” in Yau Tong, the court heard.
Chow, who is two months shy of turning 17, was jailed following her plea and sentencing hearing in court.
“What kind of a person is the defendant?” said Douglas Kwok King-hin, Chow’s lawyer. “What would drive a person so young to commit the offence?”
Chow’s parents got divorced when she was 12 years old, Kwok said.
He said Chow had wanted to help her single mother, an insurance agent whose work was not stable and who suffered from mental illness, with household expenses. “She wanted to work so she could contribute,” he said.
While working she met many different people, including those who led her astray, he said.
Chow went to church and sold flags to raise money, Kwok added, speaking in mitigation for the teen.