Father John Wotherspoon, a prison chaplain in Hong Kong, reports on his personal experiences providing support to convicted South African female drug mules in Hong Kong prisons – and tells us why drug trafficking is a suicide mission …
Article by Father John Wotherspoon:
On July 26 and July 27 I went to the High Court in Hong Kong to support two South African women charged with drug trafficking. Each had about 180 grams of cocaine in her vagina when arrested at Hong Kong airport. Such is the thoroughness of security at HK airport, that drugs will be detected in any part of the body or any part of one’s luggage. Nowhere is ‘safe’. Taking drugs to HK is a suicide mission.
At both court cases there were no family or friends: just lawyers, prison guards, court staff and a judge. One women broke down sobbing as soon as she was led into the court, even before the judge arrived. Her barrister told her that crying would just make things worse. I helped her calm down. She got through the proceedings.
Both women received sentences – after ‘cuts’ for pleading guilty and for good behavior – of about six years … for just 180 grams. At least they didn’t get the usual 11 years or so given to most people who have more than 500 grams.
Both women had written letters to help my Internet campaign which warns people about the danger of drug trafficking to Hong Kong. Some campaign letters are here at this new site under construction: http://southafricablog.info/ Other letters are at this previous link
For their campaign efforts, one woman received a further cut of 12 months. The other woman got nothing. Such is the unfortunate disparity in sentencing in HK at the moment. “Some judges do. Some judges don’t”.
Hopefully in the near future, there will be policy guidance from HK’s Court of Appeal so that in future all campaign helpers will receive discounts.
For me the saddest thing is that the Nigerian men who sent these women are still trying to recruit new victims. And they now rarely recruit men … men seem to know it’s dangerous.
They recruit mainly women … women who are more desperate for money for their families.
I hope, dear readers of All4Women, that you will please help spread the message: don’t do drug trafficking.