SINGAPORE - A Malaysian who rode his motorcycle into Singapore to deliver a bag containing more than 900g of a powdery substance has been sentenced to death for drug trafficking.
The four bundles inside the bag Kishor Kumar Raguan brought in were later analysed to contain 36.05g of heroin.
The law provides for the death penalty if the amount of heroin trafficked is more than 15g.
Singaporean Pung Ah Kiang, 61, who received the bag from Kishor, was sentenced to life imprisonment for possessing the drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
In written grounds released on Friday (Feb 4), High Court Justice Audrey Lim said she found that both Kishor and Pung knew that the bundles contained heroin.
In rejecting Kishor's defence that he believed the bag contained "stones", the judge said the 41-year-old, who was involved in drug activities, had failed to show that he genuinely believed the bundles contained something innocuous.
She found that Kishor was told that the items to be delivered were "kallu", which he knew referred to heroin.
Justice Lim also rejected Pung's claim that he did not know what was in the bag and that he was merely keeping it temporarily for his brother-in-law.
She imposed life imprisonment on Pung as he was certified by the prosecution to have substantively assisted the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in disrupting drug trafficking activities.
"As the prosecution did not issue Kishor with a certificate of substantive assistance... I passed the mandatory death sentence on him," said the judge.
Kishor had brought the bag containing the bundles of drugs into Singapore on July 29, 2016, and delivered it to Pung near his Paya Lebar condominium.
Pung was arrested by CNB officers as he was walking back to his condominium. He was then escorted to his home, where more drugs were found.
Kishor's DNA was found on the bundles he delivered to Pung.
The prosecution contended that Kishor knew he was delivering "kallu" - a street name for heroin - and was told to collect $6,000 from Pung.
The prosecution said Kishor was no stranger to illegal drugs as he had acted as a middleman for drug transactions.
In his defence, Kishor said he was promised RM500 ($160) to deliver something to Singapore and was told that the item was "like a stone".
He claimed that he thought they could either be decorative stones or rocks and pebbles, but did not think too much about it.
Kishor claimed that he unravelled the black tape of the bundles but did not recognise the "brown coloured things" inside.
He said that after he delivered the bag, Pung handed him a white envelope. Kishor said he did not know what it contained .
Pung contested the voluntariness and accuracy of seven of his statements.
He claimed that the investigation officer had promised to help him if he used the words "bai fen" (literally white powder in Mandarin but also a street name for heroin) or "du pin" (Mandarin for illegal drugs) in his statements.
But Justice Lim concluded that the statements were voluntarily made and recorded what Pung had said.
"Pung could not maintain a consistent story about how portions of the statements came to be," said the judge.
The Singaporean said that from the end of 2014 until his arrest in 2016, his wife's brother had been sending dog food, cat food, biscuits and Chinese medicine to him through intermediaries.
Pung said he felt "forced" to take and store them temporarily at his home until his brother-in-law's friends came to collect them.
To maintain harmony in the home, he agreed to help his brother-in-law, who would pressure his wife if he did not do so, he said.