Malaysian caught with 1.8kg of 'Ice' escapes gallows, gets jail for life

Malaysian caught with 1.8kg of 'Ice' escapes gallows, gets jail for life
As an officer begins searching her bag, Komal becomes hysterical, saying that the bag and its contents do not belong to her. An officer takes her baby away after Komal starts to have breathing difficulties. At about 10pm, officers arrest Fauziya near her new accommodation.

A MALAYSIAN kindergarten teacher who tried to take a suitcase containing almost 1.9kg of methamphetamine or Ice out of Singapore - with her seven- month-old baby in tow - was jailed for life yesterday.

Komal Rihan Nand Kumar, 31, had been hysterical when she was stopped at Woodlands Checkpoint three years ago. Yesterday, she broke down in tears during sentencing in the High Court.

Also sentenced to life imprisonment for trafficking was Ghanaian mother of three Fauziya Mohammed, 35, who passed the bag to Komal at a hotel in Desker Road.

Both were spared the death penalty after they were issued certificates stating that they had substantively helped disrupt drug trafficking activities.

Fauziya testified that she travelled from Ghana to Niger to meet a man called "Young" who would help her ailing clothes business if she went on a trip for him. At his home, Young told her to pack her clothes into a suitcase.

Young checked in the bag at the airport and gave her air tickets, a SIM card and US$3,000. She flew to Morocco, then Doha. She arrived in Singapore on Feb 20, 2012 and checked into a hotel.

The next day, she was told by Young over the phone that someone wearing a green T-shirt and carrying a baby would collect the bag from her at the hotel.

That evening, Komal collected the suitcase. She then took a taxi from Queen Street to Malaysia. The cabby helped her put the suitcase in the boot as she was carrying the baby.

At the checkpoint, the taxi was stopped. As the suitcase was being searched, Komal started crying loudly, claiming it was not her bag.

She started having breathing difficulties and tried to bite her tongue. The checkpoint officers tried to calm her down. The suitcase was found to contain close to 1.9kg of Ice.

Fauziya's defence was that she did not know the bag held drugs. Komal claimed her Nigerian husband had asked her to collect the bag. She said she trusted him even though he had previously told her to collect a bag containing white powder in Cambodia.

Her child is now at a welfare home in Malaysia.

She did it to save business

The other woman sentenced to life, Mohammed Fauziya, 35, is a mother of three who was trying to make fast money to save her business.

Back home in Ghana, she ran a business selling clothes but it was not doing well, according to court documents.

In June 2011, when travelling from Ghanaian city Kumasi to its capital Accra, Fauziya met a woman whom she knew only as Nana.

After hearing about Fauziya's business situation, Nana told her about a friend, known only as Young, who could help finance the fledging business.

In return, she would have to travel to another country with luggage. Fauziya agreed.

On Feb 16, 2012, Fauziya arrived in Niger, in west African, after two days of travelling and met Nana and Young. She put up at Young's home until she left for Singapore.

Before her departure, Fauziya was given a black suitcase full of traditional African clothing and told to pack her clothes in it too.

Shortly after, Young took Fauziya to the airport where he handed the bag to someone he knew before handing her some items including US$3,000 ($4,200), a SIM card for use in Singapore and hotel reservation papers.

She transited in Doha, Qatar, before coming to Singapore.

She did not stay at the arranged hotel because the taxi driver was unfamiliar with the area and took her to the Golden Royal Hotel on Desker Road.

After she handed the luggage to Komal, Fauziya moved to a Serangoon Road lodging house, where she was arrested.

selinal@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 19, 2015.
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