Posted by SM Maulana
LONDON: A Malaysian woman who claimed to have been duped into accepting free holidays in London and Gambia has been arrested for allegedly possessing 3.5kg of heroin.
The 36-year-old child minder from Selangor was detained at East Midlands Airport near here after the drugs were found hidden in a sealed compartment of her luggage.
The case comes in the wake of recent reports that more than 100 Malaysian women have been forced into becoming “mules” by international drug syndicates in Europe.
In the latest incident, the woman was flying back to Britain after a paid holiday-cum-shopping spree in the Western African country when she was picked up at the airport in April.
The suspect has been remanded at the Peterborough prison pending her appearance at the Loughborough magistrate’s court where the case is expected to be transferred to the crown court.
It is learnt that she would face the maximum life sentence if found guilty under Britain’s drug trafficking laws.
The woman claimed she initially flew to London after being offered the free holiday by a friend of her African boyfriend in Malaysia.
Sources said that after spending a few days in the British capital, she contacted the friend who arranged for another paid trip to Gambia.
While in Gambia, the woman was said to have befriended a local who bought her a bigger luggage after she complained her bag was too small to take her shopping items to London.
The case attracted the attention of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who advised Malaysian women to be wary of those who offered them free holidays or shopping trips overseas.
“Many Malaysian women have been tricked into becoming couriers by international drug dealers,” he told Malaysian journalists after delivering a talk on “Malaysia’s Response to New Global Challenges” on Tuesday.
Najib hoped the incident would be a lesson for Malaysian women not to fall for empty promises or be easily controlled by anyone.
“On the surface, the offers seem genuine but they have ulterior motives which would get the women into trouble,” he added.
He said the people must be aware that although drug trafficking did not carry the death sentence here, it was still a serious offence with life sentences or 15 to 20 years imprisonment.