The court ruling that re-ignited debate by cutting the jail term of a foreigner was struck out by the Court of Appeal yesterday in a hearing over a Taiwanese drug smuggler who applied for a shorter sentence. In August, Mr Justice Brian Keith, sitting in the Court of Appeal, shaved three months off the jail term of Felix Rohrer, a Swiss national convicted of fraud, to reflect the hardships foreigners suffered in Hong Kong prisons because of differences in culture, language and diet and isolation from family and friends. But Mr Justice Michael Stuart-Moore, also sitting in the Court of Appeal, yesterday said the Rohrer decision was, 'with respect', wrong in principle. He said Mr Justice Keith had failed to consider a 1994 court ruling in which Mr Justice William Silke said foreignness 'did not attract a specific discount in sentencing'. That decision, involving Pedro Nel Rojas, a Brazilian drug trafficker, was thought to have settled years of debate in the Court of Appeal about discounts for foreigners. 'We consider that the decision to give a specific discount for the 'foreignness' element in Rohrer was contrary to well-established practice,' Mr Justice Stuart-Moore said. Yesterday's decision arose from an appeal by a Taiwanese taxi driver who was jailed for 17 years in May after he was caught with more than 3kg of cocaine, worth $3.7 million, strapped to his body at Chek Lap Kok airport in September last year. Deputy Judge Esther Toh Lye-ping had cut one year from the sentence of Hong Chan-chi, 38, because he was a foreigner. Hong's appeal for a shorter sentence was rejected yesterday. Mr Justice Stuart-Moore also said Hong was not entitled to any discount because Taiwan was, by definition, part of the People's Republic of China. He also delivered a stern warning for any foreign drug-trafficker considering peddling drugs in the SAR. 'It should be made clear to non-residents of Hong Kong, whether from the mainland or Taiwan or from far-flung jurisdictions, that if they come here in order to break the law they will be treated no differently and certainly no more leniently than other criminals who are namely resident here,' Mr Justice Stuart-Moore said.