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FDHs warned never to receive air parcels for anyone

30 June 2019

The High Court, where the case is being heard



By Vir B. Lumicao

An Australian Catholic priest who is helping jailed drug carriers is warning migrant female workers never to collect air parcels for friends or from anyone else sent through the postal system or delivery services.

Most likely, these parcels are laden with dangerous drugs sent by the maids’ purported boyfriends from other parts of the world, Fr. John Wotherspoon said.

He issued the warning on Jun 28 as a Filipina detained since February last year on a charge of trafficking in dangerous drugs appeared in the High Court for a scheduled plea-taking and sentencing that was reset at the last minute.

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The defendant, Sharon V. Berces, was arrested in Kowloon on Feb 28 with small amounts of dangerous drugs.

She was first arraigned in Kowloon City Court, then her case was transferred to the Eastern Court on Jun 25 last year. The case was moved to the High Court last month after the prosecution said she was ready to enter her plea.

But Judge Amanda Woodcock adjourned the case until Sept 30 at the request of the defense lawyer, who said he wanted to look for more mitigating factors before the plea-taking and sentencing.

Wotherspoon, speaking to Filipino newsmen outside the court, said foreign helpers, Filipinos and Indonesians especially, continue to be tricked into collecting drug parcels unsuspectingly from post offices or delivery services.

“Very often the people who are doing the tricking are boyfriends from other parts of the world,” said Wotherspoon, who is a prison chaplain.

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He said the drug ring members meet the women online or in churches and befriend them before tricking them into receiving or collecting air parcels for them.

“Please be careful about anyone who asks you to go and collect the parcel. Don’t do it. Even your closest friend, your boyfriend, don’t do it. There’s so many people still going to prison. It’s very difficult for them to prove they’re innocent, so, please be careful about accepting or collecting parcels,” the priest said.

He said the women should not let anybody send a parcel to their home address. He said two Filipinas who let their boyfriend send parcels to their employers’ homes were just too lucky to be acquitted this year.

He was referring to Calin Baybayan and Michelle Mardo, who were released by the West Kowloon Court on Mar 14 and Jun 4 after the prosecution withdrew the charges of trafficking in dangerous drugs against them for insufficient evidence.

In a strange twist to the cases of Baybayan and Mardo, they were both girlfriends of the Nigerian man who they identified as sender of the drug-laden parcels.

And Wotherspoon said he could not stop wondering why the man was still moving around freely in Hong Kong.
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