Tuesday, January 15, 2019

China Sentences Canadian To Death For Drug Smuggling

A Canadian citizen in China has been sentenced to death after a court convicted him of drug smuggling on Monday, a move likely to further inflame tensions between Ottawa and Beijing.

The Dalian Intermediate People's Court in northeastern China said Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was given a death sentence based on the nature and severity of his crime and in accordance with the Chinese criminal code.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized the ruling, which comes as relations have strained between the two countries following the arrest of a senior executive from the Chinese tech firm Huawei in Vancouver last month.

According to the court, Schellenberg was dispatched to Dalian by drug traffickers in November 2014 to orchestrate the smuggling of more than 222 kilograms (489.4 pounds) of methamphetamine from the Chinese port city to Australia.

Schellenberg and an accomplice bought tools and tires in an attempt to repackage the drugs before shipping them out in containers, according to the prosecution.

The Canadian was said to have inspected the cargo, assessed the workload and decided on a shipping date. After his accomplice turned himself into the police, Schellenberg fled Dalian and was arrested in southern China on December 1, 2014, when he tried to fly to Thailand, the court said.

"I am not a drug smuggler. I came to China as a tourist," Schellenberg said Monday before the verdict was announced.

The court said Schellenberg is entitled to appeal his verdict and sentencing within 10 days.