Drug dealer imprisoned for 16 years

A MAN who claimed he took to drug trafficking to pay for his mother's medical expenses was jailed for 16 years in the High Court yesterday.

Lee Yat-hung, 33, admitted to two counts of trafficking in a dangerous drug involving nearly 10 kilograms of heroin.

Mr Justice Patrick Chan said that the amount of heroin involved was enormous.

He said the penalty should reflect the culpability of the offence, the possible harm the drugs might do to the public and society's disgust for this sort of crime.

Prosecutor Catherine Fung said Lee was intercepted by police as he left a Sha Tin flat on December 11 last year.

Lee was searched and 879 grams of heroin was found. When police entered the flat, a further 8,664 grams of heroin was discovered.

Under caution, Lee admitted that he had been employed as a courier since the previous month at a fee of $200 to $300 for each block of drugs he delivered.

In mitigation, his counsel James McGowan said his client's devotion to his mother was largely behind the offence.

Mr McGowan said Lee's mother had become ill last year and when government doctors failed to diagnose her problem she turned to private doctors.

Lee, who had a clear record, had no savings and out of desperation accepted the offer to become a drug courier, his counsel said.