TWO men at the centre of the biggest drug money scandal ever uncovered were jailed for 12 years yesterday. Mr Justice Bewley said the launderers were almost as reprehensible as the traffickers and suggested the maximum sentence should be increased to life. Lo Chak-man, 33, and Tsoi Sau-ngai, 47, helped drugs boss Law Kin-man, 40, conceal the profits from a massive heroin smuggling operation said to be controlled by the Sun Yee On. The ring is believed to have smuggled two tonnes of heroin from Thailand to New York in the 1980s. Investigators said US$93 million (HK$718.9 million) was laundered through Law's numerous Hong Kong accounts. Lo and Tsoi, who were directors of Law's company Anwide, were convicted under recent legislation which makes it an offence to launder drug traffickers' money. It was Hong Kong's first money laundering trial. The maximum sentence is 14 years and a $5 million fine, the same as in Britain. But Mr Justice Bewley said such trials in Britain did not compare with the magnitude of the current case. 'The maximum sentence is for the worst case. This trial in my opinion reflects just that. It may be that consideration should be given to increasing the maximum sentence to life imprisonment,' he said. 'Those who launder drugs money are almost as bad as traffickers themselves. He must be hit where it hurts most - in his profit.' Mr Justice Bewley jailed both for 12 years after accepting the key player involved in moving Law's money out of Hong Kong after his arrest was his sister Sybil Law Wai-wah. The judge said Sybil Law, 36, who fled to Taiwan, would have received the maximum 14 years if convicted. A warrant is still out for her arrest. Lo was ordered to pay $1 million towards prosecution costs and faces a further two years in jail if he defaults. The sentence will provide a guideline for future money laundering trials. Law, who was extradited to the United States, originally faced 20 counts of heroin trafficking, conspiracy and distribution but was allowed to plead guilty to one charge of trafficking in 26 kilograms last year. The Hong Kong Government has recovered about $150 million of Law's drugs proceeds. Outside court, Senior Inspector Martin Richardson of the Narcotics Bureau called for some of the money to be channelled back into the bureau's financial investigations division. 'We have no computers or software and it's absolutely vital we get these. The traffickers . . . have computers but we don't,' he said. 'In the US they get to keep a lot of the money they seize. We don't get one cent.'