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Judicial CP - September 2000

Corpun file 6074


New Straits Times, Kuala Lumpur, 6 September 2000

Salesman gets 12 years in Ecstasy case

By Thanam Visvanathan

JOHOR BARU, Tues. -- In the first such court case to be concluded in the State, a metal products salesman was sentenced to 12 years' jail and 10 strokes of the rotan for possession of some 698gm of Ecstasy pills.

Tan is led into court in JB
Salesman Tan Wing Keat, 28, walking into the Johor Baru High Court Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing 3,643 Ecstasy pills.

Tan Wing Keat, 28, of Taman Banang Jaya, Batu Pahat, had initially claimed trial to two counts of trafficking in Ecstasy pills which carries the mandatory death penalty.

He subsequently pleaded guilty to two alternative charges of possessing the drugs.

Tan pleaded guilty to the first alternative charge of possessing 564.3gm of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) pills, commonly referred to as Ecstasy pills, at an apartment at the Datin Halimah Condominiums in Jalan Datin Halimah, Larkin, here at 3.30am on March 3 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to a second alternative charge of possessing 133.4gm of Ecstasy pills in a car at a bus-stop in Jalan Tebrau here at 3am the same day.

Both offences carry a minimum sentence of five years' imprisonment and 10 strokes of the rotan, and a maximum sentence of 20 years in jail.

Judge Datuk Azhar Ma'ah sentenced Tan to 12 years and 10 strokes of the rotan for the first offence, effective from today.

However Tan was not convicted on the second charge because, upon the application of Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Rashid Daud, the judge agreed to take into consideration one charge only for sentencing.

Tan was arrested by narcotics police who had found part of the drug in his car.

He subsequently led them to the condominium, where they found more than 3,600 Ecstasy tablets packed in two bags in his clothes closet.

Tan had been renting the apartment for RM1,300 a month since January 1999.

In mitigation, defence counsel H. Y. Lee said the accused was from a poor family. His mother was a washerwoman, his father died of cancer in 1992, and he had two schoolgoing siblings.

Tan, the eldest, was the sole breadwinner for the family. Lee said the accused had difficulty securing a job, partly due to his small physical stature. He was only four feet seven inches tall.

Lee told the court that Tan's dire financial situation was "taken advantage of" by a Singaporean who went by the assumed name of "Peter", and who had befriended Tan shortly before his (Tan's) arrest.

However, when Lee told the court that the accused had no knowledge that the parcel he had been asked to deliver by Peter contained dangerous drugs, Azhar interjected: "I will not accept that as a mitigative plea."

Lee then asked the court for a minimum sentence, as this was Tan's first offence, and he was seeking a new lease of life.

Copyright The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, Balai Berita 31, Jalan Riong, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

[Picture from the Star, KL, 6 September 2000]

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