Used By Permission of  The Star -  Opinion

Young women lured by the promise of big money

THE family of Devi, 30, who was caught with 688.26g of heroin while entering Gongbei, China on Feb 9, is awaiting news of her fate. 

The woman¡¯s sister, who wanted to be known as Saras, said they only received a second request for RM1,000 and clothes in September to be forwarded to a lawyer representing her sister. 

¡°I am trying to raise the money for her. We are poor people,¡± she said when contacted. 

Saras said the family had contacted the Malaysian Consulate General in Guangzhou and the lawyer representing her but had not received any news. 

¡°We sent RM1,000 to the lawyer in early July and are awaiting word to make the trip to see her at the Zhuhai detention centre in China,¡± she said. 

Saras said they had wanted to visit Devi at the centre but the Malaysian Consulate General had advised them not to come, as they would not be able to see her. 

¡°My 67-year-old mother is on her deathbed and wants to see her youngest daughter. Every day, she asks whether there is any news from China,¡± she said. 

She said Devi, who was unemployed, frequented a cyber caf¨¦ in Cheras and became friends with several African men. 

¡°One of them asked her to deliver important documents to a client in Macau and offered to pay her US$5,000 (RM17,000),¡± she said. 

Saras said their elder brother was against the trip but without the family¡¯s knowledge, her sister had made all the arrangements to go and informed the family only hours before the trip. 

At the airport, the man and two of his friends gave her a sling bag containing the documents, a suit and a pair of shoes, saying that she would look presentable when she delivered the documents. 

Devi called Saras to inform her that she had checked into a hotel in Macau but the people who were supposed to collect the documents could not meet her, and she was asked to take a bus across the border to Gongbei Port. 

At the port, Devi was detained for having 688.26gm of heroin concealed in the suit, shoes and inside a bottle of body lotion. 

¡°My sister was greedy for the money and she is now paying a heavy price. She is innocent and has been cheated,¡± she said. 

Malaysian officials said five Malaysian women, aged between 23 and 33, and two of them pregnant, were detained on suspicion of carrying drugs to Guangzhou early this year. 

All said friendly Africans had offered them money to carry documents or Chinese herbs to China, and they were unaware that they had been duped into carrying drugs. 

They claimed that they were among about 20 young women lured by Africans in Malaysia into carrying drugs to China. 

The pregnant women were provided medical treatment at the Guangzhou Wu Jing Hospital before being deported to Malaysia, the officials said. ¨C By A. LETCHUMANAN