The arrival hall at Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: Sengkang commonswiki, WikiMedia Commons

A former Filipino domestic worker who worked in Macau was given a jail term of 15 years and five months earlier this month after she pleaded guilty in the High Court in Hong Kong to drug trafficking.

On November 8, Imelda G Penascosa, 45, was charged with trafficking a dangerous drug after she was caught bringing over three kilograms of cocaine to Hong Kong on February 13 last year. The drugs had a street value of more than HK$4 million (US$512,307),  reported.

In early 2016, Penascosa met a Filipino couple in Macau named Jennifer and Edilberto, who suggested she should attend a business seminar in Dubai and try to get a job there from his employers. Jennifer bought her a return ticket on Emirates Airlines.

On February 8, 2016, Penascosa arrived Hong Kong and took a flight to Dubai but she did not find a job there. On February 13, when Penascosa was about to depart the international airport in Dubai, Jennifer suddenly showed up and asked her to carry three cans of chocolate candies that were “heavy and smelly” back to Hong Kong. Penascosa did it and was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport.

Penascosa’s lawyer pleaded for a lighter penalty for the defendant, who volunteered to help trap the recipients of the smuggled drugs in a controlled delivery operation outside the airport’s Customs area but that did not succeed.

In Hong Kong, the maximum penalty for trafficking a dangerous drug is a fine of up to HK$5 million and life in prison. Judge Gareth Lugar-Mawson said the usual sentence for drug traffickers was 23 years jail plus an additional five years for international cases.

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