The tablet form of 'ice' was just as harmful as the crystals most commonly used in the Hong Kong drug scene, a judge ruled yesterday as he jailed a trafficker for five years. Mr Justice Colin Jackson's finding in the Court of First Instance came during the sentencing of unemployed nightclub worker Jesada Kumpin. Kumpim, 35, who admitted one count of trafficking, was stopped by Customs officers on August 17 last year when he was seen acting suspiciously after arriving on a flight from Bangkok. A search found seven packets containing 1,375 tablets stashed in his underwear. Kumpim's defence counsel, Wilson Chan, asked the court to be lenient, saying the tablet form of ice was less harmful. But Mr Justice Jackson refused after hearing evidence from psychiatrist Dr Chen Char-nie. Dr Chen said while the crystalline form of ice was more quickly absorbed into the system, and therefore more addictive, tablets could also be just as addictive if taken over a long period. He said people took the tablet form for two reasons. Lorry drivers, nightclub workers and students, for example, used it to help them stay awake. Others simply wanted excitement. Dr Chen concluded the tablet form of ice was just as harmful as the crystalline form. Mr Justice Jackson said based on Dr Chen's findings, it was not possible to say the tablet form was less harmful than the crystalline form. 'The inherent dangers of consuming the drugs are quite apparent and any other view is misconceived,' he said. The judge also refused to accept mitigation that Kumpin had only sought to traffic the tablets to clear his debts. Kumpin bought them in Thailand for HK$1 each and intended to sell them in the SAR for $10. Mr Justice Jackson reduced Kumpin's sentence from a starting point of 7.5 years to take account of his early guilty plea.