IPOH: A 58--year--old Singaporean was sentenced to five years' jail and RM40,000 fine by the High Court yesterday after pleading guilty to an alternative charge for drug possession of more than one million Erimin 5 pills two years ago.
Tan Cheok Kwee, initially charged under Section 39B(1)a of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries the death penalty, had his charge amended yesterday to be under Section 12(3) of the same Act, which carries a fine of not more than RM100,000 and imprisonment not more than five years, or both.
Dressed in red prison uniform, he pleaded guilty to possessing 5,964.8gm of Nimetazepam in the form of Erimin 5 pills at Syarikat Hock Cheong Transport Sdn Bhd, No 29, Laluan Kangsar 7, off Jalan Kuala Kangsar, Vaiva Industrial Area, here at 3.30pm on Aug 19, 2010, under the amended charge.
He was represented by counsel Datuk Naran Singh.
Tan would face eight months' jail in default of the fine and he was ordered to serve his sentence from his date of arrest, Aug 19, 2010.
In his judgment, Judge Datuk Zainal Adzam Abd Ghani said the most prominent aspect of the case was the excessive amount of drugs involved.
"It is clear that the accused had hoped to profit from the distribution of the drugs, as the pills were carefully concealed inside packages wrapped in bales of cloth.
"The accused is lucky to have been offered an alternative charge instead of the initial charge which carries the death penalty."
Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Aiza Khairuddin asked the court for a deterrent sentence due to the large amount of drugs involved.
Facts of the case stated that Tan was arrested in Air Itam, Johor, after he was linked to a drug shipment from China that arrived at Port Klang on Aug 15, 2010, which was stored at a warehouse, off Jalan Kuala Kangsar, here.
He was found to be responsible for the shipment order of 1,015,500 pills, which were wrapped in 168 plastic packages and hidden in folds of 58 bales of cloth.
He was since detained at the Sungai Udang Prison in Malacca.