A HONG KONG man convicted of attempting to kill a former government lawyer, known as the Dragon Lady for her prosecution of Asian drug lords, has been jailed in the United States. David Kwong Wing was sentenced by the New York Eastern District Court to imprisonment for 21 years and 10 months for sending Catherine Palmer a booby-trapped briefcase in 1990. At the hearing, Ms Palmer, who is now in private practice, called on the judge to give Kwong the maximum sentence because of 'what he did to the criminal justice system'. 'This crime makes us all victims, to the extent that it makes people ask whether it is worth it,' she told the court. 'If we don't make him answer, the system is belittled. 'When someone tries to kill or maim someone involved in law enforcement, we are all victims.' Ms Palmer, who was instrumental in forging co-operation between Hong Kong and the US in the fight to stop Asian drug traffickers, also told the judge of her parents' concern about the attempt on her life. 'One of [my mother's] children was almost killed for doing her job,' she said. Kwong, a convicted gun-runner and former FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informer, was calm during the sentencing. A DEA agent attached to Group 41, a task force specialising in Asian drug smuggling, described Kwong as 'very smart' and said he could still be a problem. 'He is a rat that won't go away,' the agent said. 'He might try something from prison. He was a good guy to get off the street but we still have to be careful.' Kwong was first convicted in 1992 of attempting to murder Ms Palmer but an appeals court overturned the conviction in late 1993 and ordered a new trial. In the second trial, in August last year, he again was found guilty of mailing the booby trap. According to evidence given during the trials, Kwong rang Ms Palmer, who he partly blamed for his gun-running conviction, in September 1989 to complain about his treatment by the DEA. She told him that his complaints were meritless and that the agency should not work with him, which it stopped doing by late October 1989. The briefcase, inside a gift-wrapped parcel with an unfamiliar return address, was sent to her office in the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn on January 29, 1990. Two Group 41 members who happened to be in her office at the time, carefully opened the case when she became suspicious. Inside, they found a loaded semi-automatic rifle with its barrel cut down to eight centimetres. The trigger was connected to a 'rat trap' spring and was rigged to fire through the case when it was opened, with the intention of hitting Ms Palmer in the stomach. In an attempt to throw investigators off his trail, Kwong left documents in the case implicating Chan Wing-yeung, head of Chinatown's On Leon Yong, in the assassination attempt. Kwong bought the rifle on November 15, 1989, using Chan's name. Chan is also in jail in New York pending trial on organised crime charges. Ms Palmer worked as a prosecutor for nine years and was responsible for the conviction of a number of Hong Kong drug lords for smuggling billions of dollars of heroin into the US. Among those convicted was Jonny Kon Yu-leung, a Hong Kong criminal who was one of the world's top heroin dealers with a network worth US$500 million.