Drug suppliers get sentences reduced

THE Court of Appeal yesterday gave seven men involved in a conspiracy to supply drugs to an undercover FBI agent posing as a buyer substantial reductions on their sentences, which ranged from 16 to 25 years.

Vice-president Mr Justice Fuad, Mr Justice Penlington and Mr Justice Macdougall found the trial judge had not said which guideline he was adopting or what starting point he had taken for the sentences he gave.

The appeal dealt with two related cases. Chu Chi-yat, 43, who was convicted of two conspiracy charges and jailed for 20 years and received a concurrent sentence of 25 years for a similar offence, had both his sentences reduced to 14 years.

His co-defendant, Chu Hang-chau, 40, who was also found guilty of the conspiracy charges and jailed for 25 years, had his sentence reduced to 10 years because he gave vital evidence for the Crown.

Shum Man-keung, 36, and Lam Wing-keung, 30, had their 18-year jail terms reduced to 12 years.

Chow Ming-fung, 34, had his 23-year term cut to 16 years, Tsoi Ho, 38, had his 23-year term substituted with one of 18 years and Yu Chuen, 44, had his sentence reduced from 16 to 11 years.

Their appeal against conviction was dismissed by the Court of Appeal last November.

During the trial, the court heard that undercover FBI agent Mr Fred Yau met Simon Kwong, a notorious drug dealer, who offered to put him in touch with drug suppliers in Hongkong.

The agent returned to Hongkong in March 1988 and stayed at a Tsim Sha Tsui hotel, where hidden video and audio equipment recorded meetings with Kwong and the appellants. The appellants were arrested after a delivery of heroin.

Kwong, a United States resident, was extradited to the US, where he is now serving a long jail term.

The charges involved 15 kilograms of pure No 4 heroin.

Mr Justice Penlington, said yesterday the level of the original sentences could not be justified.