Two face death penalty for drug trafficking

Two face death penalty for drug trafficking

A 49-year-old Singaporean woman and a 29-year-old Nigerian man are facing the death penalty as they went on trial yesterday for trafficking in nearly 2kg of methamphetamine, commonly known as Ice.

Hamidah Awang, a stall assistant, was stopped for a search at the Woodlands Checkpoint on the night of Nov 13, 2011, as she was driving out of Singapore, the High Court heard yesterday.

Sniffer dogs "reacted" to a black suitcase in the boot of the car, the prosecution said in its opening statement. Central Narcotics Bureau officers later found two packets of Ice concealed in the bag, which bore part of a luggage tag sticker with the words "chukwu" and some air travel information.

The bag allegedly belonged to Ilechukwu Uchechuku Chukwudi, a second-hand computer trader, who was arrested in his room at a Chinatown budget hotel the next day.

Tests later showed that the two packets contained not less than 1.963kg of Ice.

The prosecution alleged in its opening statement that Ilechukwu had brought the bag from Nigeria, after transiting in Qatar, and passed it to Hamidah.

It said it would produce surveillance camera footage to show he collected the bag at the airport and had it with him when he checked into the hotel.

The footage will also show that he left the hotel at about 10.15pm that night with the bag but returned at about 11.35pm without it. Deputy Public Prosecutors Ng Cheng Thiam and Chee Min Ping will also seek to show that the pair were communicating on the phone between 9.45pm and 11.35pm that night.

Hamidah, who is represented by Mr Amolat Singh, and Ilechukwu, represented by Mr Eugene Thuraisingam, are expected to say in their defence that they were unaware the bag contained drugs.

Anyone convicted of trafficking in more than 250g of Ice may face the death penalty.

selinal@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Sep 11, 2014.
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