A Chinese woman identified as Li Dandan, tricked into drug trafficking her Nigerian boyfriend, had tears of joy moments after she was found not guilty after spending 3 years in jail.
Li who was intercepted at Hong Kong International Airport in 2015 while en route to Malaysia to help deliver clothing samples for her Nigerian boyfriend identified as IK, who said he would set up business in her home province of Guangdong, had trafficked 1,934 grams of methamphetamine, a drug more commonly known as Ice, worth HK$580,000 (US$73,900), according to Hong Kong Prosecutors.
The drugs were found stored in a hidden compartment sewn into the linings of her backpack, but the Guangzhou native claimed she had been conned to make deliveries for her Nigerian boyfriend, whom she had trusted.
“I dated this Nigerian man because he did not smoke or drink. He struck me as a hardworking person. I could not believe he was a drug trafficker.”
However in court, Li’s counsel, Leung Chun-keung, argued it was possible his client did not know about the hidden compartment as she was not professionally trained like customs officers to detect abnormalities in bag linings.
The Chinese woman pulled her mother in a tight embrace yesterday, as soon as she emerged from a Hong Kong court’s cell holding unit, free at last from a drug trafficking case hanging over her head for nearly three years. Father John Wotherspoon who has been working on a “name and shame” project, identifying and exposing drug lords operating through and in the city, stood beside them.
“I’m very happy,” he said tearfully after learning of Li’s acquittal. “I’m hoping her case can help the [other drug mules] appeal.”
Testifying in court, Father Wotherspoon who has been traveling the world to help drug mules facing trial, said Li was highly vulnerable in light of her divorce.
“So when he offered her a relationship, she trusted him,” he said. “She thought he was a real boyfriend.”
It was gathered that to help prove her innocence, Wotherspoon travelled to Malaysia, Bangkok, Thailand, and Guangzhou to track down IK, with the Nigerian’s picture in hand. He visited the restaurant and hotel where they stayed together, found his address in Malaysia, and passed on the information to Hong Kong police. At trial, he testified for the defence as a character witness.