Two Vietnamese men were sentenced to six and seven years in jail for drug trafficking and planting cannabis at the High Court in Hong Kong on Monday.
Hoang Van Hai, 58, was sentenced to six years, while 38-year-old man Nguyen Thang Loi was given a seven-and-a-half-year prison term. The two were arrested in 2017 in a luxury house in Tai Po in the New Territories for growing cannabis, Sing Pao reported.
The men were employed by a crime syndicate to grow cannabis in the house. Officers seized 7.8 kilograms of cannabis worth HK$2.17 million (US$276,769) and 448 cannabis plants. According to an expert, the farm could produce 85 kilograms of cannabis with an estimated value of HK$23 million a year.
The judge said the two men were not the masterminds of the syndicate. Meanwhile, Hoang was given remission for his cooperation with police by providing information. Nguyen’s sentence was increased as he was an asylum seeker, but stayed in the city to commit the crime.
The lawyer asked for leniency for Hoang, a British passport holder who emigrated to the United Kingdom 10 years ago and worked as a chef in a restaurant. He came to Hong Kong in 2017 to get Chinese medication for back pain and was later recruited to work growing the cannabis.
Nguyen entered Hong Kong illegally in 2015 and applied for asylum. He was later recruited and worked at the illegal farm. He was given a salary of HK$10,000 a month.