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Prison sentence upheld against e-sports champion for marijuana offenses

12/06/2023 07:33 PM
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Hong Kong professional video games player Kurtis Lau Wai-kin is pictured during an interview in Taipei in August 2019. CNA file photo
Hong Kong professional video games player Kurtis Lau Wai-kin is pictured during an interview in Taipei in August 2019. CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 6 (CNA) The Taiwan High Court on Wednesday upheld the jail sentence of four years and two months handed to former Hong Kong professional video games player Kurtis Lau Wai-kin (劉偉健) for the trafficking and sale of marijuana in Taiwan.

A spokesman for the Taiwan High Court's Taichung branch said Wednesday that it rejected an appeal by Lau, better known by his in-game moniker Toyz, a former League of Legends world champion and coach because it found him guilty of buying up to 500 marijuana pods for NT$600,000 (US$19,058), which can lead to a prison sentence of up to two years.

In addition, Lau and his accomplices were convicted of trafficking and illegally selling marijuana, classified as a Class 2 illegal drug in Taiwan, constituting a serious crime, according to the spokesman.

The case can still be appealed.

In 2021, Lau was arrested and detained on suspicion of selling marijuana online after authorities launched a search of his home in New Taipei and found evidence of him possessing and distributing marijuana.

During the detention period, the Taichung District Court ascertained that Lau had been involved in drug dealing after he pled guilty, ruling that he would be released on NT$1.5 million bail, according to court documents.

The case can be traced back to 2020 when Lau was accused of forming a drug ring that had bought 500 marijuana pods for NT$600,000 from two men in December that year.

Marijuana pods seized by the police are displayed in this file photo released by the prosecutors in January 2022.
Marijuana pods seized by the police are displayed in this file photo released by the prosecutors in January 2022.

Lau allegedly asked a gang member to hire three other men to sell 200 marijuana pods, agreeing to split the profit. One of the men surnamed Lee (李) then used the messaging app Telegram as a sales channel for the marijuana pods priced at NT$4,500-NT$7,000 each.

On Aug. 9, 2021, officers from the Changhua County Police Department, disguised as buyers, put in a bid to buy 154 marijuana pods for NT$165,000 and then met Lee at a location in Taichung where he was arrested and the pods seized as evidence.

Following a further investigation, the Taichung District Prosecutors' Office indicted Lau on six counts related to drug dealing offenses, along with seven other people accused of assisting in the crimes.

On Nov. 24, 2022, the Taichung District Court sentenced Lau to four years and two months in jail for six drug trafficking offenses in Taiwan.

Lau is a former video game player who won the League of Legends World Championship 2012 tournament. Following his retirement in late 2015, he began coaching and took up managerial roles for e-sports teams in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

(By Chao Li-yan and Evelyn Kao)

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