Perske gets suspended sentence in Japan for drug possession conviction

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Australian golfer Wayne Perske received an 18-month prison term suspended for three years.
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Associated Press

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A Japanese court has handed down a suspended sentence to Australian golfer Wayne Perske for possessing and using cocaine.

Masaaki Ono, an official at the Chiba District Court, said the 36-year-old golfer, a regular on the Japan Golf Tour, received a year and six months in prison, suspended for three years.

Perske was arrested in October after inhaling cocaine at a bar in Chiba, east of Tokyo, and carrying some 1.25 grams of cocaine in his pocket. A customer at the bar alerted police, leading officers to search and arrest him.

Japan has strict anti-drug laws. Possession of banned drugs can carry a penalty of up to seven years imprisonment.

Perske told investigators he intended to take the drug himself, officials said.

Perske, who is from Brisbane in Queensland state, turned professional in 2000 and has played mostly in Japan over the past decade. He qualified for the 2006 British Open at Royal Liverpool, where he failed to make the cut.

In the wake of his arrest, the Japan Tour began testing players for illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine drugs. The tests began at the Nov. 11-14 Taiheiyo Masters.