Zimbabwean woman was arrested in Hong Kong after being found in possession of hard drugs while en route to Thailand.
.A Zimbabwean woman was arrested in Hong Kong after being found in possession of hard drugs while en route to Thailand. Two other Zimbabweans are also languishing in Malaysian jails after being found in possession of cocaine. Regina Makwembere (40) was found in possession of amphetamine drugs in her luggage at the Hong Kong International Airport. Amphetamine is a psycho-stimulant drug that produces increased wakefulness and focus in association with decreased fatigue and appetite. Her arrest follows several warnings issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Zimbabweans to be wary of international drug syndicates that reportedly target locals. Contacted for comment yesterday, Foreign Affairs deputy director legal and consular Mr Chris Mavodza confirmed the arrest of Makwembere. He said: "There is a lady who was arrested last month in Hong Kong for attempting to smuggle an undisclosed consignment of drugs through Hong Kong International Airport." Mr Mavodza said Makwembere, who claims to be in dressmaking business, travelled to South Africa by bus around February 15 and stayed in a hotel in Johannesburg before reportedly picking up the drugs from a South African woman only identified as Pearl. Pearl, he said, assisted Makwembere to smuggle the drugs through OR Tambo International Airport. "The contraband was meant for Thailand," he said. Mr Mavodza said Makwembere was expected to appear in court on May 24 this year. He said two other Zimbabwean women -- Faith Rusere and Joyce Tafadzwa Munhenga (whose ages were not given) who were arrested in November 2010 in Malaysia for drug trafficking were expected to stand trial this month. The two were nabbed for possessing 3,50kg and 3,2kg of cocaine respectively valued at US$900 000. "Their trial dates were set for March and April, 2012 respectively by the High Court. They both face death sentences if convicted," Mr Mavodza said. He warned locals against drug trafficking. "As Foreign Affairs we cannot emphasise enough the risk one carries in attempting to traffic drugs of any type. Our message to all nationals is please resist the temptation of drug trafficking for your own good. "The crime carries a heavy sentence, including a death penalty in most Far Eastern countries," Mr Mavodza said. Drug cartels are increasingly using Zimbabweans as mules to take hard drugs to Asian countries, where such crimes attract the death sentence or life imprisonment. Zimbabwean citizens are used to transport their consignments because locals had lesser chances of raising suspicion. At least 16 Zimbabwean women are stuck in Asian jails, 14 convicted of drug smuggling and two others awaiting the conclusion of their trial and face the death penalty if convicted. According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the 16 women in Asian jails, 14 are jailed in China where they have been convicted of offences ranging from drug trafficking to illegal ivory trade. Eight are serving their sentences at the Beijing Women Prison, Beijing Second Prison and Tianjin Prison while six others are detained at the Guangzhou Prison. Two other Zimbabwean women are facing the death penalty in Malaysia. Some Asian countries including Malaysia could soon impose stringent travel requirements for Zimbabwe and other African countries following the increase of use of locals to smuggle drugs. According to an inside source plans were at an advanced stage to implement new visa regulations as a result of the rampant drug trafficking. Several countries such as Zimbabwe that until now enjoyed visa-free travel to some Asian countries will have visa requirements imposed upon them as a way of curbing drug trafficking.