• Kyodo

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A Chinese sailor was handed a prison sentence and a fellow crewman received a suspended term Thursday for possessing 150 kg of stimulants on a ship off the coast of Fukuoka Prefecture in January.

The Fukuoka District Court sentenced Xiao Kaimin, 41, chief engineer of the ship, to eight years in prison and a fine of 1 million yen.

Qui Jinzhong, 52, was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for four years, and a fine of 500,000 yen.

Prosecutors had demanded a 10-year term and 1 million yen fine for Xiao and a five-year term with a 500,000 yen fine for Qui.

“The crime was very serious, as the amount of the stimulants confiscated from the ship was profound,” presiding Judge Hiroo Suyama said in handing down the ruling. “The drugs could have seriously damaged Japanese society had they been put on the market and would have benefited criminal organizations with illegal profit from stimulant sales.”

The two men are among seven Chinese arrested in the incident on suspicion of violating the drug control law. The others are being tried separately.

The Japan Coast Guard, acting on a tip from China’s public security authorities, seized their vessel off Fukuoka Prefecture and arrested the seven Chinese crew members on Jan. 6 after confiscating the stimulants.

Prosecutors earlier charged that the sailors received the drugs from an unidentified ship off North Korean around Jan. 3.

According to authorities, the drug haul had an estimated street value of roughly 9 billion yen.

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