BANGKOK – Police in Thailand have arrested 3 Nigerian nationals for using Thai women as drug mules to transport drugs into Japan.
More than a dozen Thai women have been charged in Japan with smuggling 13 kilograms of stimulants over a 3-week period, prompting authorities in both countries to investigate a criminal organization.
Investigators say the Nigerians (Mr.Justin Chiedozie Uzukwu, Mr.Declan Kaodichi Uzukwu, Mr.Okwor Stephen Onyema) were based near Bangkok, and possessed illegal drugs intended for sale. Two of them were staying in the country illegally.
Authorities believe the Nigerians recruited couriers, and then signed them up for budget group tours.
Thai police said, “The couriers who went to Japan appear to have only gotten about 300 dollars each, which is not much.”
According to the Japanese police, the number and frequency of the arrests have risen to an alarming level. Those arrests are of all sexes and ages. Some are duped into smuggling drugs. Some do it intentionally on being asked by friends, girlfriends and boyfriends or hired by African drug smuggling gangs.
Japan has loosened visa requirements for Thai nationals, leading to a rise in the number of tourists from Thailand. Investigators believe the smuggling ring took advantage of this situation.
The Thai embassy said in its posting that drug smugglers have exploited the 15-day visa exemption for short-stay tourists. Since early 2014, a large number of Thai people have been caught smuggling drugs through various airports. Most of them are Thai women, aged 20-35, hired to be drug couriers by African nationals staying in Thailand.
“Smuggling of drugs into Japan carries severe penalties. All of the smugglers are subject to legal action. Don’t let yourselves be in the same fate as many Thais who have been imprisoned in Japan,” the Thai embassy said in its notice, adding that Japan has strictly enforced the law against drugs and those found guilty are liable to at least 10 years in jail and a fine of no less than 3 million yen.
The embassy also warns that Thai travellers should avoid delivering things as asked by strangers.
Source: NHK World News