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IX. Drug cases

A. Possession of dangerous drugs

Possession of dangerous drugs is an offence contrary to section 8 of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance ( Chapter 134 ). It is committed where a person has dangerous drugs in his/her possession or has smoked, inhaled, ingested or injected dangerous drugs. The prosecution must prove the person knew he/she was in possession of dangerous drugs. Physical possession is not required, provided the prosecution can show the drugs were under that person’s control. This would cover the situation where a person stores drugs at a friend’s house until he/she wants to consume them.

B. Trafficking in dangerous drugs

Trafficking in dangerous drugs is an offence contrary to section 4 of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance ( Chapter 134 ). It is committed where a person brings dangerous drugs into Hong Kong or causes them to be brought in, takes dangerous drugs out of Hong Kong or causes them to be taken out, supplies dangerous drugs to another person or offers to do so or possesses dangerous drugs for the purposes of supplying them to another person.

Bringing drugs into Hong Kong or taking dangerous drugs out of Hong Kong is trafficking in dangerous drugs even if the drugs are for self-consumption. If the court accepts that those drugs are for self-consumption a lower penalty will be imposed upon conviction.

Trafficking is committed by supplying or offering to supply drugs to another person. There is no requirement for a commercial transaction. Giving dangerous drugs to a friend as a gift, or sharing drugs with a friend, is just as much trafficking as selling those drugs to a stranger: drugs are supplied.

Severe penalties are imposed upon those who bring drugs into Hong Kong, particularly where they are brought in for sale to others. The maximum punishment is life imprisonment. Prison sentences can be expected even for relatively small amounts of drug. Young age and a previous clear record will count for very little, particularly where the trafficking involves a commercial element.

As an example of likely sentences, a person who traffics between 10 to 50 grammes of ketamine can expect a prison sentence of between 4 to 6 years upon conviction after trial. A person who traffics between 300 to 600 grammes can expect a prison sentence of between 9 to 12 years imprisonment upon conviction after trial.

C. Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs

Driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drink or drugs is an offence contrary to Section 39 of the Road Traffic Ordinance ( Chapter 374 ). It is committed where a person drives a motor vehicle on a road when under the influence of drink or drugs to such an extent he/she is incapable of having proper control over the vehicle. Whether this is so will depend on the circumstances of the particular case.

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