By DALE LUMA
SEVEN foreigners who were caught with cocaine worth about A$1.5 million (K3.4 million) on Budibudi Island in Milne Bay were deported to Hong Kong on Saturday after they completed their jail terms.
Crime Investigation Division director Mark Yangen told The National at the Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby that the seven had nine months.
The offenders were charged with illegally entering the country and in possession of 55kgs of cocaine, dangerous drugs.
“They were all convicted and sentenced to 18 months but the magistrate reduced the sentence to nine months because they were already in custody for nine months,” Yangen said.
“They have completed their nine months sentences and are now free to go back.”
Yangen said that they were escorted to Hong Kong by an officer from Immigration and CID to make sure that they got to Hong Kong.
He said the reason to send a police officer with them was because one of them, Lam Tse Lik, 40, from Hong Kong, is wanted by the Hong Kong police.
“We are connected to 132 countries in the world through Interpol. So when we ran their names through the system, his name had a red mark. “This meant that he was a wanted man and the red flag was issued by the Hong Kong police but we don’t really know what he is wanted for.
“We already contacted the Hong Kong police through the embassy and the police will be there to wait for him when they arrive.
“Air Niugini has its policies regarding wanted people travelling onboard so a police officer has to travel with them.”
Yangen said the other six: Marko Vujovic, 26, from Montenegro, and the five Chinese were Au Yeung Chun Ngai, 33, Shek Fai, 50, Lai Chi Fai, 46, Ng King Him, 27 and Pang Hon Lun.
“When they arrive there, the Montenegro man will transit and travel home.”
Yangen said that the foreigners’ tickets were paid by their relatives because the Chinese embassy didn’t want to set a precedent by paying their airfares.
Hes said that he was happy with the deportation process that was handled by PNG Immigration, the Chinese embassy and police (CID).
The seven were caught by a joint police and Defence Force team on a naval patrol boat about 50 nautical miles from Budibudi Island on May 23 last year.
They were sentenced by Waigani District Court Magistrate Jimmy Tapat.
The Australian Federal Police ,which assisted in the investigation, took samples of the drugs for testing, and estimated the value A$1.5 million (about K3.4mil).
National Drug and Vice Squad officer Chief Insp Joel Kapinias said earlier that the seven had arrived in Milne Bay from Hong Kong via the Philippines.
By DALE LUMA