18-year-old teenage boy sentenced to 11 years in prison for drug trafficking, packaging, and delivery worth approximately HK$ 1.71m

Judge Judianna Wai Ling Barnes

26th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a recent court hearing, an 18-year-old teenager pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment. The defendant, identified as Cheung Chi-hin, had been involved in packaging and delivering drugs with a total street value of around HK$1.71 million.

The young teenager claimed that due to financial difficulties within his family, he resorted to risky actions in search of quick money. He admitted to accepting approximately HK$500 each time to package and transport drugs for others. However, his illicit activities came to an end when he was apprehended by law enforcement officers who had been conducting surveillance outside a drug packaging facility. Upon searching the premises, the authorities discovered a total of 2.61 kilograms of ketamine, commonly known as “K,” with an estimated street value of HK$1.71 million.

The defendant appeared before Judge Judianna Wai Ling Barnes in the High Court today and acknowledged his involvement in the drug trafficking offence. The judge emphasised that while the defendant played a significant role as a packaging and delivery person, he was not as culpable as the mastermind behind the operation. Considering the defendant’s relatively young age and vulnerability to manipulation, the judge opted for a lower starting point in the sentencing.

Following the sentencing, Judge Judianna Wai Ling Barnes advised the defendant to utilise his time in prison wisely by focusing on education. The judge also urged him to make positive changes, value the care and concern shown by his family, and lead a law-abiding life upon his release. At the time of the crime, Cheung was a student and had previously been convicted of common assault in 2020, resulting in a fine of HK$1,000.

During the plea mitigation, the defence highlighted the defendant’s foolishness in committing the crime. They explained that his father, who worked as a security guard, had been injured, affecting his ability to work, while his mother, a salesperson, had lost her job due to the pandemic. The defence argued that the defendant’s involvement in drug trafficking was motivated by financial difficulties within his family. According to the defence lawyer, Cheung was recruited by a friend, who paid him approximately HK$500 for each drug packaging and delivery task. The defendant expressed remorse for his actions and made a commitment to dedicate himself to studying and leading a law-abiding life. In a plea letter, the defendant’s mother blamed herself and her husband for failing to properly guide their son due to work commitments, leading him astray and associating with negative influences.

According to the case details, law enforcement officers conducted a surveillance operation outside a unit in Mui Wo Building on the evening of June 27, 2021. They observed the defendant leaving the unit and subsequently intercepted and searched him, recovering a set of keys. Upon entering the premises, the officers discovered approximately 2.61 kilograms of ketamine with an estimated street value of HK$1.71 million in various locations, including the living room and bedroom. Additionally, they found items such as plastic bags, a sealing machine, and an electronic scale. Further investigation through CCTV footage revealed that the defendant had been entering and exiting the unit multiple times between 25th June and 27th June of the same year. After being cautioned, the defendant admitted to engaging in drug trafficking activities in pursuit of quick money.