ANOTHER Sarawakian woman has been caught for drug smuggling overseas.
This time it is a 27-year-old single mother with three children from Kampung Seratau, Siburan.
Beatrice Laus Johie was caught with 1.5kg of a powdered substance concealed in the lining of her bag, which preliminary testing found to contain heroin.
She appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday and was remanded in custody to reappear before court on Jan 9.
Beatrice could face up to 25 years’ imprisonment and/or an A$550,000 fine — that’s RM1.78 million.
This is such devastating news.
In March, a 22-year-old nursing student from Betong was detained at Shenzhen Airport in Guangzhou, China.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem, who is also Serian MP, said she had voluntarily swallowed about 600 to 700 grams of pills for RM5,000.
She was promised that sum by a South African man known as Chimezie Michael, whom she befriended through Facebook.
Last year, a teenage girl from Politeknik Matang had carried two bags given to her by a South African man she knew through Facebook. On her arrival in China, she was arrested after the authorities found drugs in her bags.
In Beatrice’s case, her devastated parents revealed that she too had a foreign boyfriend, believed to be Nigerian. (Does anyone else see a pattern here???) She claimed she knew nothing about the heroin in her bag and that it belonged to a friend who was to accompany her to Melbourne but backed away at the last minute because he had “problems with his visa”.
Her parents said since her divorce, Beatrice had been struggling with finances.
Minister of Social Development Tan Sri William Mawan Ikom said yesterday that gullible rural youths, who were unprepared for city life, could either be a participant or victim of such drug-trafficking crimes if they did not have proper information on the dangers and consequences.
We must do something to ensure no other Sarawakians are duped into becoming drug mules. Warn your sisters, cousins, friends, colleagues and even acquaintances not to be easily convinced by the sweet words of foreign men. I don’t mean to be sexist, but it seems most of the victims from Sarawak so far have been women.
Be wise ladies, Facebook is great for social networking but be careful not to fall victim to foreigners looking for their latest drug mule.
While you probably believe such a thing cannot happen to you, Beatrice and many others like her probably did not believe they were being used either.
Even if these women had knowingly smuggled the drugs, that does not make their cases any less devastating.
Many of those caught so far are relatively young and had their bright futures destroyed. Imagine having to languish in foreign jails for years and years, never seeing family or friends as no one can afford the trip.
What happens to these Sarawakians when they are finally released? Hopefully we do have a plan to help them find their place in society again.
Also what happens to their family members in the meantime? They also require support, lest someone else in the family feels pressure to stray off the straight and narrow path.
The story from The Borneo Post:
Panic, disbelief and anger
by Anasathia Jenis
A phone call from the Malaysian Embassy in Australia came like a bolt of lightning for the Johie family of Kampung Seratau at Mile 15 Kuching Serian Road last Sunday afternoon turning their world topsy-turvy.
The call informed them their 27-year-old daughter Beatrice had been caught with 1.5kg of heroin in her luggage at Melbourne Airport.
Beatrice’s mother, Pauline Durit, 49, said she panicked when she received the call on her handphone at about 3.45pm while they were visiting her sister’s house in Kampung Mundai.
She said she could not believe the news and wished it was not true until the ambassador’s wife spoke to her of her daughter’s predicament.
When interviewed at their home yesterday Betarice’s father Laus Johie ,49, blamed her Nigerian boyfriend for deceiving her into carrying his luggage where the drug was hidden in its lining.
Seething with anger he believed his 27-year-old daughter Beatrice was an unwitting drug mule.
Beatrice, a ward assistant of a private hospital and a single mother of three sons was charged at Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday and is now placed on remand to reappear before the Court on Jan 9 next year.
Laus said his daughter could have met the Nigerian man named Anthony through Facebook .
“My relatives had told my wife she had befriended a foreign guy. Some of our concerned relatives advised and warned her not to continue with the relationship but she just ignored them. We only knew about their relationship recently,” said Laus.
He added that he and his family did not know Beatrice planned to go to Australia because she did not say anything before she left the house on Nov 3 at about 2pm apparently for her evening shift.
Pauline added Beatrice’s young children needed her and appealed to the government to help her daughter as she believed she was framed by her boyfriend.
“Although the sons are not so close to her due to her tight schedule, they still need their mother.”
Her sons are aged two, six and eight, the younger two stay with her parents while the eldest stays with her former parent-in-law.
Beatrice arrived at Melbourne International Airport from Kuala Lumpur on Sunday morning and her luggage was examined by the Customs and Border protection.
She was supposed to have travelled with the Nigerian man but he claimed he had visa problems and could not make the trip at the last moment.
Beatrice is facing 25 years’ imprisonment and/or a A$550,000 fine if found guilty of committing the offence.
The stories from Bernama:
Malaysian woman charged in Melbourne for importing heroin
MELBOURNE: A 27-year-old Malaysian woman has been charged with attempting to import a marketable quantity of drugs into Melbourne Airport in her luggage.
Beatrice Laus Johie, of Kuching, Sarawak, appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court Monday and was remanded in custody to reappear before court on Jan 9.
Australian Customs said the woman was subjected to a baggage examination by Customs and Border Protection officers after she arrived at the Melbourne International Airport from Kuala Lumpur Sunday morning.
During the examination, the officers noticed an inconsistency in the woman’s luggage, a Customs statement said.
“An X-ray revealed approximately 1.5kg of a powdered substance concealed in the lining of her bag,” it said.
“Preliminary testing of the substance indicated the presence of heroin. Further forensic testing will be undertaken to determine the exact weight and purity of the substance.”
Customs said the matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police and the woman was charged with possession and importation of a marketable quantity of a border controlled drug, namely heroin.
The maximum penalty for this offence is 25 years imprisonment and/or a A$550,000 fine.
The Malaysian Consul-General here, Dr Mohd Rameez Yahaya said he had spoken to Johie, a nurse, soon after he was informed of her detention.
She claimed she knew nothing about the heroin in her bag and that it belonged to a friend who was to accompany her to Melbourne but backed away at the last minute saying he had “problems with his visa”, Dr Rameez said.
“I asked if she needed any assistance and she said everything was okay and fine,” he said.
“I also called her mother in Kuching to reassure that the consulate will help her daughter in her ordeal.” – Bernama
‘Drug mules’, a challenge to Sarawak Social Development Ministry — Mawan
KUCHING, Nov 8 (Bernama) — The increasing number of Malaysian women, especially from Sarawak, being arrested as “drug mules” overseas is a challenge faced by the state Social Development Ministry in its efforts to reach out to the youths, said its minister Tan Sri William Mawan today.
He said gullible rural youths, who were unprepared for city life, could either be a participant or victim of such drug-trafficking crimes if they were half-informed of such dangers and its consequences.
“During the last state assembly sitting, I did a good wind-up to discourage people from being lured into some of these lucrative business because if anything goes wrong, you get the rope (face the death sentence),” he told reporters after chairing his ministry”s meeting to chart out a roadmap to engage the youths and government through its social transformation programmes in collaboration with the state Local Government and Community Development Ministry here.
He was asked to comment on the case of a 27-year-old nurse, Beatrice Laus Johie, of Kuching, who was charged in the Melbourne Magistrate”s Court Monday with attempting to import about 1.5 kilogrammes of heroin into Melbourne Airport in her luggage.
According to a news report, Beatrice, who was remanded in custody to reappear before court on Jan 9, was subject to a baggage examination by Customs and Border Protection officers after she arrived at the Melbourne International Airport from Kuala Lumpur, Sunday morning.
She had alleged that she knew nothing about the heroin in her bag and that it belonged to a friend who was to accompany her to Melbourne but backed away at the last minute saying he had “problems with his visa.
Mawan said parents must also be able to instil values into their children, no matter whether they were in the longhouse, schools or anywhere else that they should be aware of such dangers and its consequences.
As far as the government was concerned, he said, such public awareness campaign was on-going as part of its social development roadmap.