Hong Kong nationals Wai Kit Leung (42) and Wai Lam Chan (37) were today sentenced in the District Court of New South Wales after pleading guilty to jointly attempting to possess a commercial quantity of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy.
Mr Leung was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of eight years and six months. Mr Chan was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of six years and six months.
On 9 October 2016, Australian Border Force officers examined a container at Port Botany in Sydney and found 493.27 kgs of a brown crystalline substance hidden inside 20 pallets of aluminium rolls.
Later testing revealed the drugs had a total pure weight of 367.93kg.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) then substituted the hidden drugs with an inert substance and began surveillance on the container. While police watched, Mr Chan organised to store the drugs at Miranda Kennards, and over a period of days, he began to access the substituted drugs.
Mr Chan cut open the aluminium rolls, removed some of the substituted drugs and packed them into 70L plastic containers. He then gave at least one of the containers to Mr Leung. When Mr Chan and Mr Leung were arrested they had 10 mobile phones between them, of which five were in false names. When Police later searched the defendants’ homes they also found another 10 phones.
They also found nearly 50 kilos of the substituted MDMA in the boot of Mr Leung’s car, broken down and stored in 50 smaller plastic bags. Police also found a backpack containing approximately 1.3kg of ephedrine.
Mr Chan participated in a record of interview where he said he was told to rent the warehouse storage by a person in Hong Kong, and that he was paid $20,000 to remove a substance from the consignment, which he knew to be drugs.
Both Mr Chan and Mr Leung were in Australia on student visas.
In sentencing, Her Honour Judge Wass SC said that the amount and purity of the MDMA marked it as a significant importation and part of a sophisticated operation. She said that while both defendants had played menial roles in the importation, they were trusted underlings who were aware they were to receive a substantial amount of drugs and acted in a continued and sustained way once in possession of the drugs.
Summary of charges:
- One count each of jointly attempting to possess a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug, namely 3, 4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, contrary to s307.5 with ss11.1(1) and 11.2A of the Criminal Code (Cth) (Mr Chan x 1 and Mr Leung x 1).
- One count of possessing a controlled precursor, namely ephedrine, contrary to s308.2 of the Criminal Code (Cth) (Leung x 1)—taken into account on a s16BA schedule.
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