Data released by the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court shows that the Guangdong provincial capital is handling a growing number of cases involving local women who help their foreign boyfriends smuggle drugs into the Chinese mainland.
According to a statement from the court yesterday, courts across the South China metropolis handled 258 drug-smuggling cases involving 275 foreign and domestic people from 2008 to 2011. The drugs involved grew from 88 kilograms in 2008 to more than 276 kilograms in 2011.
Of the drug smugglers, women represented the large majority, the court statement said.
"The number of cases in which foreign drug traffickers used both coercion and bribery to force Chinese women to smuggle drugs into the mainland after they have been acquainted with or dated them has been on the rise in recent years," the statement said.
The offenders even include female university students, with the youngest 24 years old, the statement said. They were caught by customs officers when they arrived from overseas in Guangzhou, hiding the drugs in their luggage and handbags, and inside their bodies.
Last week, two local women identified as Tao and Zhong were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve at the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court for helping their foreign boyfriends smuggle drugs into the mainland.
Tao and Zhong even failed to tell the real names and the addresses of their foreign boyfriends after they were detained.
Zhong was detained on July 20, 2011, when she flew into Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport from Malaysia. Customs officers found nearly 2.5 kilograms of heroin in her luggage. She said she did not know she had hidden heroin in her luggage because "the boxes" were given to her by relatives of her boyfriend at his request.
Tao, arrested on March 21, 2011, was accused of bringing more than 1 kilogram of heroin plus another 270 grams of methamphetamine in her handbag when she landed at the Guangzhou airport from abroad.
Tao, who met and fell in love with her foreign boyfriend in 2008, said she had successfully helped her boyfriend, known as "Oscar", bring back "samples" to the mainland three times before she was caught.
According to the court, Zhong's and Tao's punishments were reduced because they confessed.
Cao Zhida, a Guangzhou lawyer, attributed the growing number of local women who helped their foreign boyfriends smuggle drugs into the mainland to the poor legal and self-protection awareness of the young Chinese women who lack social experience.
"Smuggling or trafficking drugs is a serious crime on the mainland," he said.