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DH’s drug parcel case going to High Court

21 March 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

The drug trafficking case against a Filipina who was arrested upon receiving an air parcel containing cocaine from her former Nigerian boyfriend will be transferred to the High Court, prosecutors said in West Kowloon Court on March 3.

Laboratory analysis of the drug that domestic helper Estrella G. Welba took delivery of on Sept 23 last year confirmed that the intercepted substance was 478 grams of solid cocaine. No street value was mentioned.

“We would like to apply for adjournment of the case to April 10 prior to its transfer, this is a Court of First Instance case,” the prosecutor said. There was no objection from the defense.

Magistrate Cheang Kai-hong set the 40-year-old defendant’s return to Eastern Court to April 17 for committal to the CFI.

Cheang also said the court had received a letter dated Feb 24 from Welba’s employer William Liu whose content the magistrate did not reveal. The defense lawyer confirmed he had received his copy of the letter.

The magistrate reminded the Filipina that she can seek legal aid and call for witnesses to support her case when it goes to trial.

“You will be asked questions which you may or may not reply. You have the right to present your own witnesses to support your defense. Or you can plead guilty, after which you will be committed to the High Court for sentence,” the magistrate said.

Cheang remanded the defendant in custody.

Welba was arrested by a joint Customs and police team after she accepted a parcel posted from Addis Ababa and addressed to her at her employer’s North Point flat.

She did not suspect that the delivery man was an officer.

She told investigators the parcel was sent by her former boyfriend, a Nigerian she met in Hong Kong, supposedly for a friend who would pick it up later from her.

Her case and two similar cases involving Filipinas have prompted a crusading Catholic priest, Father John Wotherspoon, to launch a campaign against an alleged Nigerian drug trafficking syndicate supposedly based in Tsimshatsui that has been duping women.

The priest has published letters from the jailed women detailing similar stories of how they were be deceived by the syndicate into becoming unwitting drug mules.

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