2014-01-14  A difference between Hong Kong and Australia

Hello once again from Brisbane in Australia where I'm enjoying my annual holiday and attending some meetings.
People in both Australia and Hong Kong sometimes ask me "what's the difference between Hong Kong and Australia?"
Well, both places have good and not-so-good points. The following story shows one particular difference.

If you Google "elderly perth couple drug mules" you'll see the story of an elderly Perth couple who were tricked into thinking they had won a trip to Canada in October last year. They went on the trip, but became suspicious of brand new travel bags they were given for their luggage when they left Canada. On return to Perth they reported the matter to customs authorities. AUD$7 million worth of drugs was found in the lining of the new bags.

Police then arrested a Canadian man at Perth airport - he was part of a gang that regularly tricked elderly people into being "drug mules". The elderly couple were not charged with anything. They went home free, having learned to be more careful in future of such scams.

But if the couple had arrived at Hong Kong airport in the same situation, they would have been charged with possession of drugs. Hong Kong has a "no excuses" policy. The couple would have been sent to detention centres for several months until a trial, or series of trials, could be held.  And in court they would have received long prison sentences, at least 9 years, because in Hong Kong law the only thing that matters in drug cases is the quantity of drugs involved. If what I have written here is not accurate, please let me know and I will gladly post a correction. But if what I have written is accurate, maybe it's time for Hong Kong to modernise its draconian laws.