Unprecedented collaboration between Chinese officials and the Australian Federal Police has led to the successful prosecution of three Melbourne-based men, Shi Hao Chen, Jie Lin and Jian Wang. For their role in attempting to possess a marketable quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug, each offender was sentenced to a period of imprisonment ranging from three years and one month to a maximum of four years and one month, with non-parole periods between two years and one month and three years and one month to apply.
Chen and Wang were arrested in the spring of 2013 after Chinese officials had some time earlier intercepted a package bound for Australia containing 505 grams of a substance containing methylamphetamine. Further analysis revealed the package contained 380.5 grams of pure methylamphetamine. Chinese officials then removed and substituted the drugs for an inert substance before returning the package to the mail stream and notifying Australian authorities.
The package continued on its journey to Australia where it was delivered to an unwitting acquaintance of Lin. After being notified of its arrival Lin made arrangements to collect the package and was observed by Australian Federal Police delivering it to the co-accused, Chen and Wang, at a nearby shopping centre.
Later the opened package was recovered by police from an apartment occupied by Chen and Wang, where a small quantity (8.7 grams) of methylamphetamine and drug paraphernalia was also seized.
Lin was subsequently arrested and charged in respect of his role in August 2014.
Mutual Assistance requests were put in place to obtain statements from Chinese officials from the Customs Office and Anti-Smuggling Bureau and from the Chinese analyst who identified the substance as methlyamphetamine. This led to a number of Chinese officials giving evidence via audio-visual link from Shanghai during the subsequent trial.
Prior to the trial Wang entered a plea of guilty to two charges, while Chen and Lin entered pleas of not guilty. During the trial process, and following the successful calling of evidence from a number of Chinese officials, both Chen and Lin successively sought leave to change their pleas to guilty.
Charges and sentence
On 9 June 2015, Jie LIN, Shi Hao CHEN and Jian WANG were convicted and sentenced in relation to:
- one count of attempting to possess a marketable quantity of an unlawfully imported border controlled drug (methylamphetamine), contrary to sections 307.6(1) & 11.1(1) and by virtue of section 11.2A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
Chen and Wang were also convicted in relation to:
- one count of possessing a controlled drug (methylamphetamine), contrary to section 308.1(1) and by virtue of section 11.2A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
Lin was sentenced to four years imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years.
Chen received a total effective sentence of four years and one month imprisonment with a non-parole period of three years and one month.
Wang received a total effective sentence of three years and one month imprisonment with a non-parole period of two years and one month. In addition, it was ordered that $1,950 in cash seized from Wang be forfeited to the Commonwealth, pursuant to section 48 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth).
The successful prosecution of Lin, Chen and Wang was due to the cooperation between Australian and Chinese officials, with the evidence provided by Chinese officials considered unprecedented in an Australian prosecution of this nature.