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High Court rejects bail for Filipino in $2M ketamine trafficking case

08 January 2020

The articles allegedly seized from the Filipino.


By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipino resident of Hong Kong arrested at the Chek Lap Kok airport in January last year for allegedly bringing in 4.2 kilos of ketamine from abroad worth $2 million has been refused bail by the High Court.

Richard Marc A. Benoza, 28, who used to work as a bartender, asked Judge Poon Siu-tung of the Court of First Instance to be allowed to post bail so he could to return to his family and take care of his grandmother.

“My family needs me. I am the only grandson who takes care of my grandmother,” Benoza said as he wiped his tears. He is charged with one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug.


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But the prosecutor objected to Benoza’s bail application, saying the amount of ketamine found in his luggage was huge.  She said that amount of the illegal drug could attract over 20 years in jail.

Customs & Excise officers arrested Benoza upon arrival from Bangkok on Jan 24 last year after his luggage allegedly yielded 17 packets of ketamine stuffed into snack boxes.

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The prosecutor said her team received on Tuesday a DNA comparison report that showed nearly half of Benoza’s clothing in his luggage bore traces of the drug. This indicated he had  knowledge of the drug in his suitcase, she said.

Ketamine is a popular party drug in Hong Kong.

Benoza is due to appear in court on Feb 3 where he is expected to be asked to enter his plea, the prosecutor said. There is a greater possibility he will abscond if granted bail, she said.

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The prosecutor cited two occasions in 2004 when the applicant was involved in two sex-related cases. He failed to report to police from Jun 18 to Jul 7, 2004 and again on Sept 2-15 that year, she said. 

Benoza said he was young and jobless then and did not know much about what was against the law. “This time I am older. I’ll try to avoid putting myself in a similar situation,” he told the judge.

But Judge Poon said the charge Benoza is facing is a very serious one that carries a very long sentence. He also said evidence against the applicant is very strong and he has a record of non-compliance with bail conditions. 
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