Chinese man to be deported after serving 6 months jail term

Chinese man to be deported after serving 6 months jail term

By Lagi Keresoma/

Apia, SAMOA – 08 July 2024 – A Chinese citizen, Qingping Yan is starting to serve a 6 months prison term and will be deported after serving time for bribing a Samoan government official.

Yan is also fined $130,000 for trying to export prohibited seafood out of Samoa.

In passing sentence today, District Court Judge Leota Raymond Schuster noted the starting point for sentencing is 12 months then deducted 2 months for character, another 2 months for pleading guilty to the charges and 2 months for mercy as he is a foreigner.

Although the charges stemmed from the same incident, Judge Schuster sentenced Ping separately as bribery is considered serious charge under the law and stands alone.

Judge Schuster asked Ping’s lawyer, Muriel Lui if it was unreasonable to pass sentence separately to which she said “no, but look at the totality of the offence.”

Lui highlighted 4 cases of bribery where the sentences were minor, but Judge Schuster pointed out that her client’s offence is of a higher amount of $5000 tala compared to cases she highlighted.

Judge Schuster emphasized the seriousness of the offence on its own.

The bribery offence
In April 2020, Ping attempted to bribe a Government official for $5000 to bypass inspection of a container worth ST$1.8 million of prohibited sea cucumbers and other seafood species.

The sentence
Ping is sentenced to 6 months imprisonment and will be deported after serving time. However, deportation depends on whether he pays the $130,000 tala fine by that time.

Judge Schuster said if after serving time and he has not paid the fine, he will be brought back to court for sentencing. But if he pays the fine by the time his sentence is served, then he is deported.

Ping is also prohibited from entering Samoa for five years under the Immigration Act.

Judge Schuster noted that bribery as an offence is common with Asian visitors to Samoa, but it does not mean the offence is not practised here as the Government recently launched an Anti-Corruption Policy to deter corruption.

He reminded defence that the Court had already issued harsh penalties to minor bribery offenders and if he is lenient with the current case, it could send out a wrong message to “lightminded people.”

He also stressed the Court’s stance on a person who attempts or commits bribery and also the receiver of a bribe.