A South African woman was arrested at Bangkok’s international airport after police said they found 1.5kg of cocaine hidden in her dreadlocks, a news report said on Tuesday.
Nobanda Nolubabalo, 23, was searched on Monday when police said they noticed a white substance in her hair soon after she stepped off a Qatar Airways flight that originated in San Paulo and flew through Qatar to Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The search uncovered 1.5kg of cocaine with a street value of 4.5 million baht (R1.23m) hidden in her dreadlocks, authorities said.
Police said the suspect admitted smuggling the drug, and said she had been hired for 60 000 baht to deliver it to a customer at a hotel in Bangkok
The Bangkok Post reported that the suspect had allegedly admitted trying to smuggle the drug and claimed she had done so after being hired to work as a drug mule by a Thailand-based businessman for £1,200 (60,000 baht).
Thailand has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws on the planet, with judges permitted to impose the death penalty for traffickers.
The South African’s arrest follows the execution of another South African citizen this week for drug smuggling in China.
Janice Linden, 38, was killed by lethal injection on Monday after she was caught in November 2008 trying to smuggle 3kg of crystal meth into the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.
South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma appealed unsuccessfully to the Chinese government to commute the sentence before she was put to death in prison.