Sunday, December 2, 2007


New Sabah Times - 02/12/2007

KUALA LUMPUR : The number of Malaysian women being duped by international drug smuggling syndicates into becoming drug couriers is on the rise, with 30 people detained this year and currently serving jail terms abroad.

Federal Police (Bukit Aman) Narcotics Director Datuk Bakri Zinin said these cases not only traumatised the victims but also their parents and family members due to the heavy punishment for the offence, which included the death sentence.

Speaking to Bernama here, he said despite various reminders through the media, cases involving Malaysian women, especially those in their 20s and 30s, being used as drug couriers continue to happen.

“This year alone there are 30 cases. The latest was in October when three women, with or without them realising, were used as drug couriers and were arrested in two countries,” he added.

Two of the women were detained in Caracas, Venezuela while the other in Australia and investigations revealed that they had been deceived by Nigerian and Iranian men to smuggle the drugs into the respective countries.

Bakri said that of the 30 Malaysian women, comprising 15 Malays, Indians (seven), Chinese (six) and others (two), nine were detained in Peru, six (Argentina), five (China), four (Australia), five (Venezuela) and another in Japan.

They were caught carrying cocaine, Ephedrine, Methamphetamine, Syabu (a designer drug) and Heroin.

“A total of 86.5kgs of drugs was seized from them, including 10kg of cocaine seized in Argentina,” he added.

Bakri said that despite pressure from the families of the affected women, the Malaysian police were not able to assist in investigations in their daughters' cases.

He said the reason being that the procedures did not allow them to contact or interview those involved, unless it was through the Immigration channel.

In August, Bernama reported a case of a woman, lured by the promise of a life of luxury by her boyfriend, found herself entangled in an international drug trafficking ring.

A member of the syndicate entered the country on a student visa and had befriended the woman. After gaining her trust and with promises of luxury gifts, sent her on a overseas trip.

Among cases which received wide media coverage was that of Raja Munirah Raja Iskandar, 22, who was detained by the Japanese authorities for smuggling 690gms of syabu at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo on Dec 20 last year.

The mass communications student from a private college here claimed that she did not know the package she was carrying contained drugs and alleged that she was deceived by an Iranian known as Milad who had offered her a job as a public relations officer at his company, which was based in Japan, with a salary of about RM9 ,000 a month.

Raja Munirah is now undergoing a jail sentence of seven years and four months pending hearing of her appeal at the Japanese High Court on Dec 4.

Bakri said he was very concerned that such cases were happening and advised parents to monitor their children closely, especially their daughters' activities.

He said that his department would also hold talks, including at institutions of higher learning, to caution the public against the menace.


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