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Filipino mom jailed nearly 7 years for heroin trafficking

23 October 2019

By Vir B. Lumicao
Justice Joseph Yau ignored the defense's mitigation and appeal for leniency.

A 42-year-old Filipina resident has been sentenced to 6 years and 10 months in jail by a High Court judge for trafficking 138 grams of heroin just over a year ago.

Michelle A. Dabao, a former waitress, was jailed on Oct 23 by Judge Joseph Yau after she pleaded guilty earlier to a charge of drug trafficking.

Dabao was in tears as she glanced occasionally at her husband and other relatives in the gallery while Yau reviewed the background of her case.
Dabao was said to have been born in 1977 and studied in the Philippines. She then worked as a waitress earning $13,000 a month. She is married and has a 17-year-old daughter who is attending a Hong Kong school.

Dabao was arrested during a Customs raid at 9:23am on Oct 17 last year on a unit that she rented in Man Fung Industrial Bldg in Chai Wan. Officers who barged into the unit saw Dabao holding an A4-sized document bag and a handbag with two cellphones. In the document bag were six resealable plastic bags containing a mixture with 138 grams of heroin hydrochloride.

Dabao told the officers she did not know the contents of the document bag she collected next to a rubbish bin at the instruction of a man named Pei Chai and for which she was paid $2,000.
The raiders searched the unit and found three empty document bags like to the one seized from Dabao, several resealable plastic bags, as well as $46.60 cash in her bag.

The prosecution said that, in a video recorded interview on Oct 18, Dabao estimated the value of the heroin seized from her at $117,344.

During mitigation, defense counsel Leslie Parry said Dabao was injured in a traffic accident in 2017 that kept her in hospital for four to five months due to a surgery in which metal braces where inserted in her legs.

Parry said his client lost her income due to her injury and the extreme pain it caused her. She did not want to bother her husband so she borrowed money from loan sharks.

Dabao learned to abuse dangerous drugs until she was introduced by unscrupulous acquaintances to trafficking for them to pay for the drugs she used and settle her debt to the loan sharks, the lawyer said.

The counsel asked for leniency, saying Dabao was very remorseful, and wished to reunite early with her husband and daughter.

Parry handed the judge three letters – one from Dabao’s husband, who said he perceived her as a spoilt child with a good heart but is a good mother, another from Dabao herself expressing her remorse, and, the third, from an association of Christian pastors who said she was remorseful and begged for leniency on her behalf.

But Justice Yau said all the mitigation pleas had no value.

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