Sanday Chongo Kabange in Hong Kong
The number of Zambian women being arrested and facing possible death sentences for drug related offences in Asia has continued to rise in recent past.
Although, exact statistics are hard to come by, it has been established that the number of female Zambian drug traffickers into different Asian countries has continued to rise despite several cautions and bursts from Zambia’s Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).
In 2010 alone, the country’s drugs and narcotics agency said it had arrested close to 15 Zambian women for drug related offences around the world and at Zambia’s various entry and exit points.
It is believed that most of the women traffickers that are arrested in Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia, China and Malaysia are set-up by their close accomplices or are desperately trying to make quick bucks by conducting illicit businesses.
It has also been established that some of the “not so innocent” Zambian female traffickers are used as couriers by their partners, allegedly and mainly from West Africa.
The female drug traffickers sometimes conceal the drugs they attempt to smuggle into Asia in unorthodox places such as in their vagina, stomach or kids hand carried teddy bears or toys.
Many Asian countries and cities have porous illicit drug markets. But with all this, some of these countries have very harsh legislation and legal systems.
Possession, trafficking or trading in illicit drugs like cocaine, amphetamine or cannabis might attract a jail term of up to 20 years, life imprisonment or even death by hanging or firing squad.
Meanwhile, a Zambian woman faces a possible death penalty in Malaysia after appearing before the court on drug trafficking charges.
Mailesi Phiri also known as Linda Chingwengwezi appeared for mention before a Penag State High Court for trafficking in amphetamine drugs, a type of illegal stimulant drugs.
About two weeks ago, another Zambian woman Monica Seketi was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport for trafficking in over 700 grams of cocaine. She risks facing the firing squad in China if found guilty.
DEC spokesperson John Nyawali explained that Phiri faces a possible death penalty if convicted as the Malaysian law prescribes a death penalty for a convicted drug trafficker.
Phiri who is being represented by a private lawyer after turning down an offer to be represented by a state lawyer will appear in court for continued trial from 17th to 19 October 2011.
Before travelling to Malaysia, she had relocated to South Africa where she was living with her boyfriend of West African origin.
It is believed that Phiri was used by her boyfriend to carry the drugs which were concealed in the false bottom of her handbag.