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Durban - Seventeen South Africans have been grabbed abroad in the past two months for drug-related offences.
Patricia Gerber, director of Locked Up in a Foreign Country - which monitors drugs arrests overseas - said three South Africans had been arrested in Malaysia, 12 in Brazil, one in India and the latest in the Philippines.
According to an online news report, customs authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal in Manila arrested a South African suspected of carrying drugs into the Philippines, on Wednesday.
According to the report, the alleged drug mule had 8.5kg of drugs concealed in food products in his luggage. Customs commissioner Ruffy Biazon said he had been a passenger on board Emirates Airline flight EK 332 from the Middle East. He said the suspect was the subject of an alert from Dubai’s customs department and was believed to be a member of an African drug syndicate.
Charges of illegal importation of prohibited drugs would be filed against the man, who faces life imprisonment if found guilty.
Gerber confirmed she had received information that a man had been arrested in Manila. She said his family had not made contact with her as yet. It was still early days, she said.
“My sources inform me that a 22-year-old South African was arrested in Malaysia last Thursday and another couple was arrested, also in Malaysia, the week before.”
She said she’d heard another three people had been arrested in Brazil this month.
Last month a further nine drug mules were arrested in Brazil.
According to Gerber, all the drug mules had been caught with methamphetamine manufactured in South Africa.
Said Gerber: “It’s out of control. Somebody has to do something. It’s not just our citizens but also their families suffering back home dealing with the horror of the situation. The government must come to the party and sign prisoner transfer agreements.”
Spokesman for the Department of international Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria, Clayson Monyela, said that they had not been notified about any of the arrests and would wait until they were by the relevant authorities.