Life sentence upheld for four

Local | Charlotte Luo 24 May 2019

Four Hongkongers sentenced to life imprisonment in the Philippines for drug trafficking have recently lost their sentence review.

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who has been helping the families of the four, said the families are appealing to the higher Court of Appeals.

The four - Lo Wing-fai, 44, Chan Kwok-tung, 31, Kwok Kam-wah, 49, and Leung Shu-fook, 51 - were jailed for life in December by a Philippines court for possession of about half a kilogram of methamphetamine, but were acquitted of manufacturing illegal substances.

To told The Standard the four defendants and prosecution had applied for a review after the sentencing. He said the prosecution sought review of the acquittal, while the four applied for review of the sentences.

The result was received on Sunday, upholding the original ruling.

During the review, the judge considered 11 reasons for the review from the four. These included the video clip from the media, proving Leung opened the bag during the search, which contained no drug and no paper bag in coffee color, as well as witnesses of prosecution's statement that were contradicted and unreliable. However, the judge said as long as the prosecution could prove the four hid illegal drugs, they did not need to prove where the drugs were coming from. The judge also said the court had to decide whether the witnesses were credible.

The judge added the prosecution could only find a hydrogenator, refrigerator, rice cooker, and less than 500 grams of methamphetamine on the fishing boat.

The judge said four people were not seen making drugs on the fishing boat, so it could not be proven that they made drugs on the boat, nor prove that they made the drug.

To said the local law enforcement authority took media members to the boat soon after the four Hongkongers got on it. He said the first search, conducted with cameras filming and witnessed by journalists, did not find any drug.

He said the second search came after the luggage left the four Hongkongers and media's sight, when enforcement officers found the drug.

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