MANILA — A Filipino man was arrested in China for allegedly smuggling five kilos of illegal drugs and could face death penalty if convicted.
The Department of Foreign Affairs, in a statement on Wednesday said, the Filipino was apprehended in Ningbo, China after he was found carrying five kilos of crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as “ice.”
“He was arrested at the airport while waiting for his flight to depart from Ningbo en route to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,” the DFA said.
The DFA did not say when the man was seized by Chinese authorities, but said it was “the most recent” arrest of a suspected Filipino drug courier.
A person caught in possession of illegal drugs in the amount of more than 50 grams is meted the death penalty in China if convicted.
Since 2011, five Filipinos – all drug couriers – were put to death in China.
Unfazed by the executions, many Filipinos continue to engage in drug trafficking.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs reiterates its warning to Filipino travelers not to allow themselves to be recruited by drug syndicates in carrying out their drug-trafficking operations,” it said, citing the latest modus operandi of drug syndicates to recruit travelers who would transport the illegal drugs out of China.
According to the DFA, Filipino recruits travel to Guangzhou from Manila where African members of the drug syndicates give them packages containing the illegal substance.
They are then asked to travel to Ningbo or Shenzhen where they are to take a flight to Kuala Lumpur. In at least two instances, minors where asked to accompany the Filipino recruits during their travel.
“The DFA warns the Filipino traveling public that China imposes harsh penalties for persons convicted of transporting illegal drugs. Filipinos who are residing, working, or vacationing in China are advised to be cautious in accepting packages intended to be delivered back to the Philippines or to another transit destination like Malaysia,” the department advisory said.
As of September this year, the DFA recorded a total of 805 Filipinos who are detained abroad for drug-related offenses.
Of this figure, 341 are detained in Asia and the Pacific, 244 in Middle East and Africa, 116 in the United States and the Americas, and 104 in Europe.