‘More women being recruited as drug mules’

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MORE and more women are being recruited as drug mules to bring cocaine into Hong Kong, a Catholic priest warned Filipinas in the city.

Fr. John Wotherspoon, Lai Chi Kok prison chaplain, said Nigerians and even some Filipinas are recruiting domestic workers in Hong Kong and Macau for the illegal drug trade.

“This is a very important point and it applies to Filipinos and Africans—there’s virtually no men coming to Hong Kong as drug mules. The drug lords from about the end of last year have virtually stopped sending men as drug mules to Hong Kong,” Fr. Wotherspoon said.

“They’re recruiting women now because women are more desperate to getting money for their families and maybe they’re easier to fool with gifts, money, or love, or whatever,” he added.

Wotherspoon has started a campaign and put up websites to warn potential drug mules by uploading the letters of drug mules arrested here in Hong Kong.

Among the letter-senders were Filipina drug mules. (http://hkdrugblog.org/campaign/2016/index.htm and http://www.philippinesblog.info/)

“Some of the Filipino mules claim they did not know what they were carrying to Hong Kong. They claim these were boyfriends or friends and they trusted them and they only gave them something at the last minute. That’s often a tactic they use,” Wotherspoon said.

“(The package is ) all wrapped up and (given when) you’re about to go to the airport. So, this should be a message to people in Philippines. Be careful abut this group,” he added.

Wotherspoon said the biggest group of female drug mules arrested at Hong Kong International Airport this year admitted to getting their drugs from Sao Paolo in Brazil.

“Most of them are being recruited to go to Sao Paolo and then they’re given the drugs there and then they come here. They’re also being sent I think to other places but Hong Kong is one of their main destinations,” he said.

“Nearly all the cocaine is coming from Colombia. To get it to Hong Kong, they usually send it from Sao Paolo. They go through Dubai or somewhere else. They don’t want to be seen as coming directly from Sao Paolo or Colombia because that raises a red flag,” he added.

Wotherspoon said many of the recruiters were Nigerians and they operate both here in Hong Kong and in the Philippines.

“It’s basically the Nigerians who are at the back of this, as far as Hong Kong is concerned,” he said.

He noted that the police in the Philippines had arrested a Nigerian, who was carrying a Ugandan passport, and his Filipino wife after they sent four Filipinas to Hong Kong as drug mules.

However, he noted that the Nigerian’s nephew, a certain Chris Williams, was still sending out Filipina drug mules from the Philippines.

Wotherspoon said there were also Filipinas recruiting their compatriots into the illegal drug trade, one of whom is based in Macau and was able to trick another Filipina to bring illegal drugs from Dubai to Hong Kong.

He said there were also Nigerians in Dubai airport who trick tourists or passengers into becoming drug mules.

“They check people and say ‘Would you like to buy these chocolates or biscuits? I bought too many. There’s one Filipina based in Sweden. She was tricked like that,” Wotherspoon said.

“She was acquitted at the Eastern courts in August after carrying four kilos of cocaine. It turned out the receipts (for the packages) did not match her travel dates. As a result, she was acquitted,” he added.

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