Written by: Nigel Ong
Flying somewhere? Then these tips will definitely help you out, or at least get you out of trouble!
Many travellers have fell prey to crime syndicates, not knowing that they themselves have ended up becoming ‘drug mules’. There are many ways they you yourself can end up being one, from just helping out to watch for that someone’s bag, to offering your extra check in luggage space to that someone who have way too much.
Asia is known for its ultra-hard laws on drugs, and these tips, if followed properly, could potentially save you from a lifetime of jail, or worse, the gallows!
1. DO NOT leave your luggage unattained
This goes without saying, even there are signs all over the airport reminding you of it. Always take it with you wherever you go, even if it’s to the toilet. Aside from preventing theft, you are also making sure that no unwanted, forbidden objects are added into your luggage without your knowledge. Some creative drug syndicates are known to do this, observing passengers particularly at the departure gate for ‘left alone’ bags that could carry their hot cargo across the border.
2. DO NOT combine your luggage with your travel buddies that you just knew
Its normal to meet and have a travel buddy as you make your way around the world – it’s more fun that way, and it helps to take away that boredom and stress being at someone unknown and alien. Two is better than one right?
But then also remember to exercise caution. Chances are you might not know much about your new travel buddy. He or she might just befriend to make the task of smuggling drugs over borders easier. One way is to ‘check in luggage together with you’. If caught, the luggage is checked under your name, and who gets the trouble? You.
Perhaps it is okay and better for you to check in your luggage separately although you may have to pay more.
3. DO NOT hold on to belonging that isn’t yours
Chances are you might have seen this on TV shows, or movies. A criminal is running away from law enforcement with a bag of drugs. He is running out of options, and hence drops the bag to you, asking you to take a look at it for him. You, being a nice person, took it in, and waited. The cops arrived, and who gets into trouble? You.
So what’s the lesson here? even if the person said it’s for a short while, never hold a stranger’s belonging. You never know what is inside. Just tell that person to put his belongings at the information or any place that is safe. The important thing is that it is not in your hands.
4. DO NOT bring unknown parcels
“You going to Thailand?, could you help me pass this to so-and-so at Bangkok?”
Never say no to requests like this, or you risk getting into big, big trouble. Why you asked? Can you find out what is inside? It could be drugs!
The key when it comes to this is to really know what are you carrying. If you are to be a mailman-of-sorts, insist to be there to see the parcel’s being wrapped. This way you are sure what will be put inside the bag, and you can be absolutely no forbidden objects are brought across the border control.
5. DO NOT offer your extra baggage allowance to the stranger in front
You see these sometimes. At the check in line, someone have went across their check-in weight limit. Desperate to bargain and get his or her way out, the person ended up on a long discussion, talk with the counter staff, causing a long waiting line.
Eventually you go up the counter and say “just check the excess luggage under my name!” problem solved!
But wait, there are risks involved. If these extra bags checked under your name have drugs in it, you are in serious trouble.
If you still insist on helping that pitiful stranger in front, paying for that person’s excess baggage is better, for the sake of your safety. Even if it’s less than a kilo, never let them check that bag under your name. A few grams of drugs is all it takes to get you into trouble.
Nigel Ong is a Malaysian that enjoys mountain hiking, long walks, and jungle trekking.He is also the co-founder of FlyMe360 Travel & Lifestyle Magazine.
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