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Tan Dai Green Grocer sentenced to 25 years gaol for drug offences

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The Director of a Melbourne based Asian green grocer, Suky Lieu, was today sentenced to 25 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 years for his role as a principal offender in the trafficking of significant quantities of controlled drugs in Australia and the laundering of large sums of money. Lieu was also convicted and sentenced for conspiring to import commercial quantities of heroin into Australia from Vietnam.

Between 6 April 2012 and 8 December 2012, Lieu was involved in the trafficking of controlled drugs—methylamphetamine and methoxymethylamphetamine (PMMA). As the drugs purchased by Lieu were located in NSW, he directed a number of individuals to travel to Sydney to collect them and transport them back to Melbourne for sale and distribution.

On five separate occasions police intercepted significant quantities of the drugs transported under the Lieu’s direction. On each occasion the persons in possession of the drugs were arrested and charged with and convicted of serious drug offences. In total 10.758 kilograms of pure methylamphetamine and 3.55 kilograms of pure PMMA was seized by police. These drugs had a total combined street value of in excess of $15 million.

Between 16 August 2012 and 20 March 2013, Lieu and others also conspired to import a commercial quantity of heroin into Australia from Vietnam. The arrangements were to be ongoing and involve importing drugs using couriers. A number of couriers were intercepted on arrival in Australia. They were also charged and convicted of serious drug offences.

Lieu was arrested in March 2013 by officers from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Serious and Organised Crime Team and was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

In sentencing Lieu, His Honour Judge Coish of the Victorian County Court said, “the objective seriousness of the offence was high” and that Lieu had engaged in commercial drug enterprises in a business-like manner. His Honour said that the sentence imposed in this case should send a strong message to the community that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.


Suky Lieu was convicted and sentenced on 26 June 2015 in relation to:

  1. One count of trafficking commercial quantities of controlled drugs (methylamphetamine and methoxymethylamphetamine) contrary to section 302.2(1) Criminal Code (Cth).
  2. One count of conspiracy to import a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug (heroin) contrary to section 11.5(1) and section 307.1(1) Criminal Code (Cth).

The total effective sentence is 25 years with a non-parole period of 18 years.

Defence Appeal

On 23 November 2016 the Victorian Court of Criminal Appeal refused Lieu’s application for leave to appeal against sentence. In their joint judgment Appeal Justices Beach and Kaye JJA observed at [54]:

In assessing the criminality of the applicant, it is important to bear in mind that each of the two enterprises in which the applicant was involved concerned the importation and trafficking of large quantities of illicit drugs. Substances of the kind that were the subject of the two charges are an abominable social evil. They have a devastating impact on lives, on families, and on communities. The importation and trafficking of drugs preys on the young, the weak, the impressionable and the vulnerable. It warps and degrades the standards of decent civilised behaviour. The two enterprises in which the applicant was involved were despicable, and conducted for no other reason than the pursuit of large profit.

Judgement - Suky Lieu v The Queen [2016] VSCA 277

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