A MAGISTRATE who gave bail to a defendant facing a possible 24-year jail sentence if convicted for an $8 million drugs operation, was criticised by a High Court judge yesterday. Mr Justice Stuart-Moore said Magistrate Li Zong-er's decision to give bail to the man - whose identity is protected because it could be prejudicial to his future trial - was incomprehensible. The man was already on bail over fraud-related offences and the judge said the temptation to flee must have been irresistible. 'The inevitable consequence was that when granted bail, he disappeared,' said the judge. He made the remarks when sentencing a co-accused, electrician Ng Ka-wing, 27, to 16 years' jail for drug trafficking. Ng's term was cut by one-third because of his guilty plea. In mitigation, John McNamara, said Ng had lost all his savings when he was ripped off after investing in a restaurant in China. His girlfriend had lost relatives' money in the venture. With the relatives wanting the money immediately and his girlfriend pregnant, Ng was told he could make $30,000 by renting a flat to store smuggled cigarettes. After the goods were delivered he discovered they consisted of heroin but could not bail out of the deal as the flat was in his name and his contacts threatened to harm his parents. Ng took no part in the processing at the flat, his counsel said. After he was arrested, his girlfriend had an abortion. Police found 6.5 kilograms of heroin in the flat during a raid on March 13, last year.