58-year-old Singaporean man sentenced to death for drug trafficking

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
Singapore Supreme Court building (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

A Singaporean man who was arrested while trying to buy heroin to sell it to others has been sentenced to death.

Han Fang Guan, who is 58, received the mandatory death penalty last Friday (5 October) for attempting to possess 18.62g of pure heroin for the purpose of trafficking.

His accomplice, Malaysian Khor Chong Seng, whom he was trying to buy the drug from, was sentenced on the same day to life imprisonment and the mandatory minimum of 15 strokes of the cane.

Khor, who is 45, had brought into Singapore 1.37kg of drugs containing 57.05g of pure heroin from Malaysia. He had met the two requirements giving the court the discretion not to impose the death sentence – his role was confined to that of a courier, and he had given significant assistance to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).

The High Court earlier heard that Khor was stopped at Woodlands Checkpoint on his Malaysian-registered motorcycle at about 12.10am on 2 March 2016. CNB officers found seven bundles of drugs within the inner lining of his two motorcycle helmets and arrested him. Khor told the officers he was supposed to deliver the drugs to a few recipients, upon instructions from his boss, whom he knew as “Lao Ban”.

While in CNB custody, at about 2.05am, Khor got a text message from “Lao Ban” with Han’s contact number. “Lao Ban” then called Khor and told him to deliver one bundle of drugs to Han for $3,600.

Not knowing that Khor was in custody, Han later called Khor and arranged to meet him at the void deck of a HDB block in Lorong 7, Toa Payoh. CNB officers arrested Han at about 4.35am in the vicinity.

Khor told CNB officers that he got to know “Lao Ban” through a friend, who knew he was in financial difficulty and suggested that he deliver drugs to recipients in Singapore. Khor was repeatedly assured by his friend that “the amount would not cause (him) to face the death penalty”.

Khor made his first delivery for “Lao Ban” on 26 February 2016. He made two more successful drug runs, but was caught on his fourth delivery.

Khor’s modus operandi would be to collect drugs from “Lao Ban” at a condominium in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The drugs would be packed in motorcycle helmets. Khor said he neither saw nor was told what type of drugs or how much drugs were packed.

After clearing customs, Khor would call “Lao Ban”, who would then text him instructions on who to deliver the drugs to and how much payment to collect. Khor would then return to Malaysia and hand the money to “Lao Ban” at the condominium.

After he was arrested on 2 March 2016, CNB officers told Khor to cooperate with them and asked him to call “Lao Ban” and explain his delay in calling to ask for instructions. Khor was then instructed by “Lao Ban” to deliver one bundle of drugs to Han, two drug bundles to another person and the remaining bundles to a third recipient. CNB officers also arrested the other two recipients.

After arresting Han, CNB officers found $3,600 in cash bundled with a rubber band in his pocket. Han told them he woke up at about 3am and decided to go to the market to gamble at the food centre at Toa Payoh Lorong 8. But while he was walking to the market at around 4am or 5am, an unknown person called him to ask him to meet at the ground floor of his flat.

Han also told CNB officers that he had contacted a drug supplier from Malaysia to order drugs like methamphetamine, or Ice, ketamine and Erimin, both for his own use and for sale. Han said he ordered 500 tablets of Erimin and 50g of Ice in late February 2016, and placed an order for 100g of ketamine and 25g of Ice in March 2016, before his arrest. But Han denied ordering any heroin.

Han, who turns 59 on Sunday (14 October), is appealing against his conviction and sentence.