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Pinoy sailor awaits sentence for drug trafficking

17 December 2018

Cocaine shaped like shoe soles.
By Vir B. Lumicao

A Filipino seafarer who sneaked nearly 2 kilograms of cocaine molded like shoe soles into Hong Kong will be sentenced on Thursday for drug trafficking, to which he has confessed.

Consul Paulo Saret, head of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, told The SUN he hoped Carlito B. Platon, 49, would be given a lighter sentence because of his guilty plea before Judge Ester Toh on Nov 27 and for cooperating with investigators by testifying against  his Colombian co-defendants in a 10-day trial that ended on Dec 12 in the Court of First Instance.

Platon testified at the trial of his co-defendants Cristhian Enrique Posso has begun serving his jail term of more than 24 years, and Jose Gonzalez Uribe who was acquitted. They both pleaded not guilty.

In his testimony, Platon said he was visited in jail by a man who claimed to be a lawyer and allegedly threatened him so he would not testify for the prosecution.

\Posso, 38, was sentenced on Dec 12 by Toh after the jury unanimously voted to convict him of trafficking in a dangerous drug.

Uribe, who claimed he was just asked by his friend Posso to accompany him on a shopping trip to Jordan Road on June 2 last year, was acquitted.

Customs and police officers pounced on Posso, Uribe and Platon while they were on board a taxi on Nathan Road in Yaumatei after meeting up at the Panda Hotel in Jordan. The three took the taxi where the drug was delivered and the money handed over to Platon.

Posso, accompanied by Uribe, had booked a room at the hotel, where Platon was to have delivered the cocaine.

Unknown to the three, Customs and police undercover men had already put Platon under surveillance after Hong Kong was alerted on May 31 by a US law enforcement agency that a cargo of cocaine would be brought in by a ship on June 2.

A Customs officer who led the arresting team said during the trial that the carrier was first identified as “Carlos”. Hong Kong intelligence team found no such name on the manifests of incoming ships, so they double-checked with the US agency and finally got the full name of Platon, who was due to arrive on a Maersk ship.



Platon said in his testimony that he met the source of the drug during a ship call in Colombia. He said he agreed to be used because he was in debt and needed money for his wife’s surgery and his mother-in-law’s medical needs.

At Kwai Chung port, he was met by a Chinese man who took him to Panda Hotel in Jordan. The deal was he would be paid in US dollars to meet up with Posso. Instead, he was given $105,000 in Hong Kong bank notes.



 He denied agreeing to testify because he wanted to get a discount in his sentence, and said he only wanted to “clear my conscience.”

When arrested, Platon’s rucksack yielded the payoff money, which was in four stacks of $500 bank notes bundled with rubber bands. He gave up meekly.



Posso threw the bag containing the drug on the ground and struggled when officers caught up with him. Uribe tried to run away but was met by other officers.

Toh sentenced Posso to 23 years in jail for trafficking in 1.982 kg of solid cocaine with a purity of 1.333 kg. Then she added 15 more months for what she said was Posso’s bad record and abuse of Hong Kong’s hospitality despite his recognizance status.



The judge immediately sentenced Posso after prosecutor Alex Ng said the defendant had three previous convictions, including one in 2010, also for drug trafficking, for which he was sentenced to 8 years in jail.

Posso was reportedly a torture claimant who applied for non-refoulement (or against being sent back to his home country) after coming to Hong Kong as a visitor.

Donald confirmed Posso’s previous convictions. He said in mitigation that his client was 38 years old, married and has three children, including twin daughters.



















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