A Hong Kong judge has sentenced a Philippine congressman to 18 months in prison for bringing cocaine into the southern Chinese territory for his personal use.
Rep. Ronald Singson was caught with 0.24 ounces (6.67 grams) of cocaine in July while transiting through Hong Kong’s airport en route to the gambling enclave of Macau. He had pleaded guilty to a charge of trafficking in a dangerous drug.
Under Hong Kong law, bringing drugs into the territory can be defined as trafficking, regardless of the purpose. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment and a fine of 5 million Hong Kong dollars ($640,000).
Prosecutors had challenged Singson’s claim that the drugs were intended for his own consumption.