KUALA LUMPUR: Christina Luke Niju, the Sabahan undergraduate who went missing in April, is in a Chinese detention centre facing drug-trafficking charges.
The 22-year-old is at the Hainan Detention Centre after being arrested for trafficking in drugs on arrival in China on April 29.
Details of her arrest and the drugs which were allegedly found on her are sketchy.
It has been learnt that she may face the death sentence due to China's stringent anti-drug laws.
MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong said yesterday that Wisma Putra had informed him about Christina's predicament.
"Christina is expected to be charged in court soon. Wisma Putra is trying to liaise with the Chinese authorities to get visitation rights," he told a press conference at Wisma MCA.
Chong said he had not been able to obtain more information on Christina's arrest or the whereabouts of a Nigerian she followed to China.
"Once Christina is allowed to have visitors, we will fly her parents, Luke Niju Panjang and Elpedia Metello, to China to visit her," he said, adding that they would also try to get legal representation for Christina.
It had been reported that Christina, known as Cory to family and friends, was a diploma student at a polytechnic college in Kuching when she befriended several African men in January via an online social networking site.
She became close to a Nigerian, identified only as James, who claimed to be studying at a private college in Subang Jaya.
On April 24, Christina flew to Kuala Lumpur from Kuching to meet James, contacting her roommate five days later to inform her that she and James were going to China on a business venture.
Both Christina's family and friends tried to contact her through her mobile phone and email, but to no avail.
Christina contacted her roommate on May 1 to ask for help, saying that she was in trouble.
The roommate informed her parents, who then lodged a report with the police.
Chong said that he was aware of nine similar cases, including Christina's, adding that seven Malaysian girls had been sentenced to life imprisonment in China, with two awaiting trial.
He said they had all been tricked by African men into smuggling drugs into China.
He cited the example of a 42-year-old Malaysian who was executed after being sentenced to death in China last year for drug trafficking.
"I believe that this case and others are only the tip of the iceberg, with many other cases which we have not heard of."
He advised women not to fall for the tricks and charms of men they met online.