Women unwitting mules of drug rings
By : Alang Bendahara, NST
KUALA LUMPUR: One is doing her degree in business management at a local university while the other has just completed her diploma in accountancy. Both women, in their early 20s, are now languishing in a jail in Guangzhou, China, awaiting trial after they were caught trying to smuggle syabu into the country last week. Checks by Chinese police showed that the women had taken a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur. A few days earlier, another Malaysian woman was arrested at an airport in Lima, Peru after she was found in possession of an undisclosed amount of cocaine.
She was on her way to Madrid, Spain when police in the South American country nabbed her. These are among several reports Malaysian police have received in the past one week on Malaysians arrested abroad for drug trafficking. So far this year, 15 Malaysians have been arrested worldwide for drug trafficking, 13 of them women. "This is alarming. These women are being duped with promises of love and money," said Federal Narcotics Department director Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai. Abdul Wahap said the figure represented a huge increase from last year where out of 32 Malaysians arrested overseas for the same offence only two were women.
He said these women were usually approached by foreigners who were "recruiting agents" for drug syndicates. "The agents prey on single women, between the ages of 20 and 30, who are doing part-time jobs," Abdul Wahap said. "They get into a relationship with the women, take them on overseas holidays and would then ask them to carry packages for them to another country. "These women are so gullible and they do not suspect that the package they are carrying contain drugs.
"When they do find out, it is too late for them." He said these recent cases have increased police suspicions that more and more Malaysians were being used as mules by international drug syndicates. "They avoid sending these women to countries with tough anti-drug trafficking laws like Malaysia and Singapore. "That is why more such cases are surfacing in South America, China, Australia and European countries." He said Malaysian tourists were unlikely to raise suspicions overseas due to the country’s good relations with other countries. "This is being exploited by the drug syndicates."
Abdul Wahap advised local women to be wary when approached by foreigners with promises of relationships or overseas vacations.
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Friday April 20, 2007, STAR
College student loses RM148,000
PENANG: A college student lost all her college fees totalling RM148,000 to a syndicate which told her that she had won RM3.3mil in two Internet lucky draws. The 20-year-old student first received a call on March 20 from a woman telling her that she had won RM120,000 in a Hong Kong Turf Club online draw. But in order to collect her winnings, she was told to deposit RM46,000 as insurance and processing fees. She then transferred the amount into an overseas bank account on March 30. George Town OCPD Asst Comm Azam Abd Hamid said later the same day, she received another call from a man informing her that she had won another RM3.2mil in a bonus draw.
"She managed to raise another RM102,000 which was the fees for the whole duration of her course. The money was then deposited into the same account on Wednesday. "After not hearing anything from the callers, she realised she had been cheated and made a police report the next day,” he said on Friday. ACP Azam said a check showed that the phone number used to call the victim was registered in China, adding that the case had been classified as cheating. "This was not the first time that such a thing had occurred. We have warned several times through the media but such a thing continues to occur. "The syndicate could also be behind several cases reported in the state over the past several months," he said.