The three Hong Kong youngsters who were arrested in Thailand on Sunday for trying to smuggle cocaine into the Southeast Asian country were unlikely to be first-timers in the drug trade, Sing Tao Daily reports.
The trio – a 19-year-old woman surnamed Fong, a 22-year-old woman surnamed Tung and a 24-year-old man surnamed Yau – had been travelling from Brazil to Thailand several times before, possibly working as drug mules, or those who work for drug syndicates by smuggling the contraband items across borders, based on their online posts, the newspaper quoted sources as saying.
Thai police found 12.3 kilograms of cocaine worth HK$11 million (US$1.41 million) in their luggage at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Sunday after they arrived from Brazil.
They are now awaiting prosecution and could face a jail term of 20 years to life or even the death penalty if convicted in view of the large volume of drugs found in their possession.
A Hong Kong netizen revealed Tung, who resides in Sha Tin, had often posted photos of her overseas trips on her Facebook page, including travels to Brazil, Tokyo and Bangkok.
In a post in February this year, Tung said she was in São Paulo, Brazil, with this note: “See you in Bangkok on Sunday this week”, Ming Pao Daily reported.
In another post on May 1, she offered money to people who wanted to join her on a 10-day trip to Brazil, the newspaper said.
Tung told Thai police investigators that she had been hired by a Hong Kong woman, known as Ming Jie, to transport the illegal drugs from Brazil to Bangkok, and that she had recruited Fong and Yau to join her on the trip. She said they had been given HK$8,000 each for the job.
Thai and Hong Kong authorities are hunting Ming Jie, who is believed to have returned to Hong Kong after the drug smuggling attempt failed.
As for Fong, she seemed to know what she was getting involved in, based on her social media posts, the sources said.
In a Facebook post on June 2, when she arrived in Brazil, Fong invited those interested to join her in transporting “wooden sculptures” from Brazil to Thailand, and from Thailand to Guangzhou, and earn cash plus free board and lodging.
Fong’s Facebook post also showed she was in Thailand with Tung and Yau in May.
Chan Man-ho, supervisor (Youth at Risk Service) of the Youth Crime Prevention Center of the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, said the online posts suggested it was not the first time they smuggled drugs into Thailand.
He called on youngsters not to be lured by online job offers that involve transporting goods overseas with all expenses paid.
Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun told Apple Daily that he had been asked several times in the past two years to help people who claimed to have been fooled by online recruitment ads and ended up breaking the law by unknowingly transporting contraband goods.
To warned young people against carrying luggage for those who offer job opportunities overseas.
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