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Chinese drug mules calling out for help

  • Under Malaysian law, drug traffickers do not fall into the category for "presumption of innocence" and as such, it will be extremely difficult for an offender to escape conviction.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 (Sin Chew Daily) -- 22 Chinese women aged between 20 and 40 -- mostly single mothers, fashion dealers, direct saleswoman or university students -- have been arrested since 2013 for drug trafficking.

They have been cajoled by their African "friends" into carrying drugs to Malaysia.

Winning the trust of victims

35-year-old Luo, who is now detained in Kajang Prison awaiting trial, has called out for help through Sin Chew Daily on behalf of her ill-fated compatriots.

Luo said she and other Chinese women came to know the African drug dealers -- who have spent one or two years to befriend them and win their trust -- though Facebook, WeChat or QQ Chat.

"They disguised into big bosses or customers using names such as Love, Mark, Andy, etc. and were very active around the city of Guangzhou."

Luo, who is married with a daughter, told sin Chew Daily she used to be a fashion wholesaler in Guangzhou, and came to know a Nigerian man by the name of Mark.

After knowing Mark for more than a year, she was pleaded to help him bring some clothes samples to Malaysia.

"I followed his instruction to take a bag from Andy, another African man in Guangzhou. I found only clothes inside when inspecting the luggage, but was stopped at the Malaysian customs with methamphetamine found inside the bag."

She confided that other Chinese women were swindled by their African "friends" into carrying samples of clothes, shoes, milk powder, etc to Malaysia while the drug was hidden deep inside the luggage in some secret compartments.

"If given one more chance, I will never believe in these Africans any more. I hope my disclosure will help other fellow Chinese women not to fall into their traps."

Secret compartments

Many of these African drug dealers speak very fluent Mandarin Chinese, and have made use of their victims, whom they have known for several months up to two years, to become their drug mules.

It is learned that these African men have been using money or feigned romance as bait to get the victims to help them carry the "goods" to Malaysia on the pretext that they could not secure a visa or have problems with their passports to enter Malaysia.

From what we know, a total of 24 Chinese women were detained for drug trafficking. Two have been subsequently acquitted and released while the other 22 are currently held at Kajang Prison. Two have been sentenced to death and 15 years' imprisonment respectively.

Most foreign female drug mules now held at Kajang Prison are from China, with the rest from Iran, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, Ukraine, etc.

Normally the drug is hidden in some concealed compartments in the luggage bags that often slip past the eyes of the unsuspecting victims but not customs officials. These secret compartments will only show up when slit open with a knife and is hardly detectable with touch or naked eyes.

Very difficult to prove innocence

Lawyer Chris Kooi, who has five years of experience in the defense of criminal and drug trafficking cases, told Sin Chew Daily, under Malaysian law, drug traffickers do not fall into the category for "presumption of innocence" and as such, it will be extremely difficult for an offender to escape conviction.

Section 37(d) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 states that "any person who is found to have had in his custody or under his control anything whatsoever containing any dangerous drug shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to have been in possession of such drug and shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to have known the nature of such drug." Consequently, a person is deemed to have been in possession of drug if such drug has been found inside his or her luggage.

"The suspect must prove that the drug found inside the bag does not belong to him or her."

Kooi said the authorities should try to make use of the clues drawn from these drug mules to track down the "big fish" behind in order to crush the drug syndicates.

"I hope the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers will be abolished," he said, commenting on the recent statement by minister in the prime minister's department Nancy Shukri that the government is mulling to abolish mandatory death penalty for serious offenses such as possession of firearms and drugs.

Kooi said he himself had been approached by a suspicious Middle Eastern man asking him for a favor to take a luggage bag out of China at Guangzhou's airport.

"I immediately understood what was going on. I pretended to promise him and he later brought in a luggage with multiple locks.

"I wanted him to open the luggage for inspection and he said he did not have the keys.

"I told him to get the keys and he just disappeared."

 

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