ANOTHER Filipina had been arrested in Hong Kong for attempting to smuggle cocaine, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Thursday.
Charles Jose, assistant secretary and DFA spokesman, said the woman, a 37-year-old telephone operator, arrived in Hong Kong over the weekend.
During a spot check on her luggage, security officers found two slabs of suspected cocaine, one weighing about 330 grams and the other 390 grams. The illegal drugs, concealed in false compartments in her handbag, were estimated to have a total market value of $750,000.
“Our consulate in Hong Kong has confirmed the case. They have visited her in detention,” Jose told The Manila Times.
The DFA official said the women, whose name was withheld, was charged with drug trafficking in court on Monday. She will await the bail hearing and start of her trial.
“Our consulate will extend necessary consular and legal assistance,” Jose said.
Hong Kong media reported that a judge adjourned the hearing to October 24 for further inquiry, and remanded her in custody.
But the Filipina was ordered to return to the court on August 9 for a bail review.
The woman’s arrest prompted Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal to order a probe of officials manning the initial and final security checks at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminals 2 and 3.
“We are trying to establish what flight and what time she departed and who are the personnel on duty that day and time,” Monreal said.
MIAA has yet to determine whether the Filipina flew out of the NAIA or from Clark in Pampanga.
In November last year, four Filipinas were arrested in Hong Kong for allegedly smuggling 2.49 kilos of cocaine worth at least $3 million.
The four women were suspected to be drug mules. They claimed that they were victims of a drug syndicate.
Over the years, dozens of Filipinas have been arrested and sentenced to at least 20 years in Hong Kong jail. There is no capital punishment in the Chinese territory.