Hong Kong eSports star Kurtis Lau Wai-kin’s appeal denied in Taiwan drug case

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Kurtis Lau

6th December 2023 – (Taichung) Hong Kong eSports champion Kurtis Lau Wai-kin, best known in the gaming world as ‘Toyz’, has been dealt another legal blow as the Taiwan High Court Taichung Branch Court upheld a previous ruling sentencing him to a prison term of four years and two months over drug-related charges.

The 29-year-old Mr Lau, famous for his exploits in the online game ‘League of Legends’ (LoL), was first charged in Taiwan two years ago for the alleged selling of cannabis vape cartridges. The original conviction was handed down by the Taichung District Court in November last year after it established six charges against him.

Investigations began when Taiwanese authorities were probing a drug case and stumbled upon Mr Lau’s alleged involvement. He was suspected of peddling cannabis vape cartridges online, with prices ranging from NT$4,000 to NT$7,000 (approximately HK$990 to HK$1,740) each. The police seized 200 cartridges and arrested Mr Lau in September the same year.

Prosecutors argued that Mr Lau, being a public figure, should not engage in illicit activities, especially selling drugs for substantial profit. However, they also considered his admission of guilt and cooperation in revealing the source of the drugs, asking the judge to reduce his sentence accordingly. Following the first ruling, Mr Lau lodged an appeal which was dismissed by the Taiwan High Court’s Taichung branch on Wednesday. The court maintained the initial verdict. Mr Lau, who was not present at the hearing, can still appeal the decision.

In a separate incident, Mr Lau was invited to the ‘2023 Astra eSports Awards’ ceremony on Monday to present the ‘ Digital Entertainment Award’. The award winner, streamer Chang Chia-hang, voiced his dissatisfaction with the eSports Association of the Republic of China (eROC) for inviting Mr Lau, who is embroiled in a drug case, to present the award. As a result, he refused to accept the award and left the stage after publicly criticising Mr Lau as a “drug dealer”.

Taiwan’s Sports Administration clarified on Tuesday that it had neither subsidised nor participated in the aforementioned award ceremony. They emphasised that sports competition should never be equated with drug use. The incident has sparked a debate about the need for a clear line between eSports and illicit activities, and the role of public figures in setting a positive example.