Big shot’s secret life of heroin
A judge couldn't understand why a successful Malaysian businessman would risk giving up his enviable life to come to Australia to traffic heroin.
Beng Goh was sentenced in the County Court of Victoria on Wednesday to six years in jail with a non-parole period of three years for his role in Michelle Tran - aka the Queen of Richmond's - transnational drug syndicate.
Judge Michael Cahill said Goh grew up in a "poor but happy family" in a small Malaysian town.
The son of hawkers selling noodles in the street, Goh worked hard to go to university.
He founded an award-winning medical manufacturing business now employing 71 people, getting married and having two daughters along the way.
The 40-year-old's family, friends, and business associates were shocked when he was arrested in Melbourne last year on a charge of trafficking a marketable quantity of heroin, which he pleaded guilty to.
"Your family was very proud when you graduated from university and have admired you," Judge Cahill said.
"(But) when success came, you became arrogant.
"You spent more time with business associates drinking heavily and less time with your family."
On January 8 last year, Goh took a package of heroin - with a street value of more than $465,000 - to the Immigration Museum in the Melbourne CBD to meet a buyer.
He had flown in from Malaysia days prior to fulfil this role in the international trafficking syndicate's network and was supposed to take $155,000 - the agreed wholesale price - back to Asia with him.
The heroin was imported from Malaysia inside the underwear of flight attendant Zailee Zainal, under instruction from Tran - the head of the Australian side of the transnational operation - who partnered with supplier 'Mr Hanoi' on the Asian side.
Zainal and Tran have each pleaded guilty to their role.
Goh's lawyer told the court he was a mere "courier" in the syndicate.
All he had to do was fly from Malaysia to Melbourne, collect the heroin from the flight attendant once he got there, take it to the buyer and take the money back to Malaysia, where it would be given to Mr Hanoi.
But it all fell apart when Zainal was caught with heroin in her knickers by Australian Border Force at the airport two days prior.
Goh was apprehended outside the museum and was taken into custody.
Judge Cahill said a note from the prison officer read: "I can't recall a prisoner working so hard to develop himself", with Goh focusing on improving his English, shaking up the menu in the prison kitchen and reflecting on his mistakes.
He said Goh's wife was standing by him and an executive director position at his company would be waiting for him upon release.
"It is difficult to understand why, as a successful businessman, you did take the risk," Judge Cahill said.
"Prison has taught you humility."
Originally published as Big shot's secret life of heroin