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Borneo, Sarawak, Sarawakian

Chances slim for Sarawakian drug mules to escape charges

THINGS do not look good for the Sarawakian women who have been caught with drugs overseas.

They include Beatrice Laus Johie, who was caught in Melbourne, Australia with 1.5kg of heroin in her luggage.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Richard Riot, who is also Serian MP, said that based on the Vienna Convention 1963, Malaysia does not have the right to request the extradition of the women from China and Australia.

Some of the women were presently serving their sentence, while others, such as Beatrice, were awaiting trial.

“Based on the Vienna Convention, we cannot interfere with the sovereignty of another country,” Datuk Riot said recently.

He said Beatrice would likely be found guilty and face a life sentence. [The maximum penalty for trafficking in a trafficable quantity of a drug of dependence to Australia is 15 years imprisonment, while the maximum penalty for trafficking in a commercial quantity of a drug of dependence is 25 years imprisonment. Beatrice is 27. She will be in her 40s or 50s by the time she is released if given the maximum penalty.]

The women in China, on the other hand, would be shown the gallows if found guilty of bringing 500 grams or more of drugs into the country.

However, Datuk Riot said the women’s parents could try to plea for clemency, but added that the chances were very slim.

“The parents can write to the Malaysian Foreign Ministry where it will be forwarded to their counterpart of the other country. This has to be done between government and government,” he said.

Datuk Riot pointed out that the victims probably got into trouble due to love and greed for a lavish lifestyle.

Sadly, he also pointed out that the women had only themselves to blame.

The story from The Borneo Post:

‘No extradition possible’

SERIAN: Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Richard Riot explained that based on the Vienna Convention 1963 on consular relations, Malaysia cannot resort to extradite the five Sarawakian women who have been nabbed as drug mules in China and Australia.

The victims, whom Riot believed got into trouble due to love and greed for a lavish lifestyle, had only themselves to blame. Some were presently serving their sentence and others awaiting trial

“Based on the Vienna Convention, we cannot interfere with the sovereignty of another country,” said Riot during a pre-Christmas gathering at Kampung Pichin on Friday.

However, Riot said that parents of the felons might turn to a plea for clemency even though the chances were very slim.

“The parents can write to the Malaysian Foreign Ministry where it will be forwarded to their counterpart of the other country. This has to be done between government and government.”

Touching on the recent case of Beatrice Laus Johie, 27, from Kampung Seratau at Mile 15 Kuching-Serian Road who was caught with 1.5kg of heroin in her luggage at Melbourne Airport, Riot said that the lass was now awaiting trial on Jan 9, 2012.

“So far, there has been no news from our consulate general in Australia but rest be assured that she is being treated well by the authorities there.”

But Riot said things looked awry for Beatrice as the evidence was not on her side.

“I feel that she will be found guilty and face a life sentence,” said Riot, adding that Australia, New Zealand as well as other European countries have done away with death penalties for offenders.

China, on the other hand, said Riot, would not take drug trafficking lightly, and offenders would be shown the gallows if found bringing a minimum of 500 grammes of drugs into the country.

He said the man who hoodwinked Beatrice was still at large and believed the man, who came from South Africa, was part of a drug syndicate using “love and money” as their modus operandi.

Riot said campaigns to create awareness on drug mules had been carried out but its effectiveness remained questionable.

On controlling the number of African students entering the state for studies, Riot was quick to point out that not all of them were bad.

“Let not one rotten apple ruin the barrel.”

He said even though chances were that these drug syndicates use student visas as a way to enter the country, most of the students who obtained the visas were genuine students who
came here to pursue higher education.

“I have been to Nigeria and the people there see Malaysia as a model for Islamic countries, and they are willing to send their children here to study because of that trust and confidence.”

Meanwhile, speaking to more than 200 villagers at the Birumuh Christmas 2011, Riot said people have to appreciate the Barisan Nasional government for its dedication to develop Sarawak into what it is today.

He also said the recent Budget 2012 announcement was meant to take care of the welfare of the people.

“Within a short period the government has managed to transform the whole of Malaysia into a fast developing nation.”

During the event, organised by RTM, food items were given to 10 individuals, while 190 school bags were distributed to SK St Dominic Pichin and SK Krusen.

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