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Pinay in ferry pier ‘struggle’ fined $2k and gets suspended jail term

19 February 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
The Filipina injured a Customs officer at the Sheung Wan ferry terminal who wanted to check her bag

A Filipina was fined $2,000 for trying to stop Customs officers at the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry terminal in Sheung Wan from checking her handbag, which was later found to contain a tiny amount of the drug “ice”.

Cheryll Salvador, 33, was sentenced to three months in jail, suspended for two years, for possessing 0.32 grams of the drug.

She was also given three months suspended sentence for possessing equipment to inhale the narcotic, and 14 days for “attempting to export” several tablets of a regulated drug.

Salvador had earlier pleaded guilty to all four charges when she appeared before
Magistrate Lam Tsz-kam in Eastern Court.

The prosecution said in a report the defendant was in the airport’s departure hall at 11:03 pm on Nov 23 when she was stopped by Customs officers for bag inspection. But instead of handing her bag, she started searching her bag, saying she needed a candy.

Suspecting that there was contraband in Salvador’s handbag, a female officer tried to take away the bag, but the Filipina resisted. As a result, the officer suffered an injury in her left hand.  She was treated at Queen Mary Hospital for tenderness and redness of the left hand and found to have suffered a fracture.

Salvador was arrested and cautioned by another officer, who searched the bag afterwards and found a plastic bag and a glass beaker containing the drug.

The arresting officer also found four foil packs containing five tablets of zopiclone, a regulated drug listed as Part 1 poison. 

In mitigation, the Duty Service-assigned lawyer said the diminutive Salvador was rushing to catch a ferry to Macau as she had to check in an hour later for a flight to Manila.

The defendant was said to be depressed at the time because she had broken off with her boyfriend just the night before. In fact, Salvador had bought the packet of “ice” for $100 outside a Wanchai bar to ease her depression, her counsel said.

Salvador, who had a clear record in Hong Kong, was remorseful and had pleaded guilty, thus a fine or a suspended sentence would be appropriate, said the lawyer.

He said Salvador was working for a sportswear company in Manila that supplied its products to Hong Kong shops, earning her “thousands of dollars a month”. 

Lam said he would impose a $2,000 fine on Salvador for struggling with the Customs officer who was just doing her job. He meted the suspended jail sentences for the drug offenses.

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