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Judicial CP - April 2004

Corpun file 13082

Straits Times, Singapore, 3 April 2004

Co-owner of Storm Pictures jailed for drug trafficking

Jeffrey Ong convicted after selling Ecstasy pill to CNB officer

By Ben Nadarajan

BETTER known for importing foreign films into Singapore, Storm Pictures' co-owner Jeffrey Ong has been convicted of trafficking in drugs after selling an Ecstasy pill to an undercover officer.

Sentenced to 5 years' jail, Jeffrey Ong, 30, is appealing against the decision.

District judge Aedit Abdullah sentenced Ong, 30, to 5 years in jail and five strokes of the cane on Wednesday.

During a three-day trial last month, it was revealed that Ong, who is single and has four siblings, had been selling Viagra online.

Last May, he sold four Viagra tablets to a customer who paid him cash and two Ecstasy pills.

Two months later, an undercover Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) officer, who was trawling Internet chatrooms to spot online drug traffickers, messaged Ong asking him if he had any Ecstasy pills to sell.

Ong replied that he had only one pill, having crushed the other out of curiosity.

After some negotiations, the undercover officer agreed to pay $140 for the pill. This was four times more than the usual market value.

When Ong met the 'customer' at Tiong Bahru MRT station, she haggled over the price and he finally settled for $80.

As soon as he handed over the pill, she arrested him.

Ong's lawyer, Mr Tan Chee Meng, said in mitigation that his client had not obtained the Ecstasy pill deliberately.

Nor had he tried to sell it by advertising or approaching anyone to buy it during the two months he had it in his possession.

Ong therefore did not fall into the usual profile of a drug trafficker, Mr Tan argued.

Highlighting how his client had said he could not get his hands on more Ecstasy pills when the CNB officer asked for additional supplies, Mr Tan said: 'The inference must be that he did not have access to more and this was a one-off sale.'

Ong, who pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing the drug but not to the charge of trafficking in it, will appeal against the decision.

One of the issues likely to be raised at the appeal is that of entrapment.

In 1993, the police conducted an operation in Tanjong Rhu to flush out homosexuals and one of the men nabbed was a hawker, Mr Tan Boon Hock.

An undercover officer had approached Mr Tan, chatted him up and then invited him to some nearby bushes. There, he touched the officer's genitals and was arrested.

When Mr Tan appealed against his sentence of a four-month jail term and three strokes of the cane, Chief Justice Yong Pung How reduced it to a $2,000 fine and said he was bemused that the hawker had even been charged with outraging the officer's modesty.

It seemed as if the officer had consented to the act, said the Chief Justice.

Lawyer Subhas Anandan will handle Ong's appeal.

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