Woman stands trial over heroin-filled buttons

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 June, 2010, 12:00am

When Mary Litren Adhiambo Rado arrived from India via Singapore, purportedly on a business trip, clothes were not all that she had in her luggage, a court heard yesterday.

Hidden in the big buttons of 10 colourful dresses the Kenyan was carrying was 1kg of heroin with a street value exceeding HK$600,000, the Court of First Instance was told. Customs officers at the airport stopped Rado in July last year and broke open the buttons to find tin foil wrapped around plastic packets with heroin inside. Each dress was sewn with about 40 buttons.

'She kept [the drug] in the buttons of 10 dresses like this one in a suitcase she brought to Hong Kong from Singapore,' senior prosecutor Jonathan Man Tak-ho told a jury, holding up a brown-patterned dress. 'In total, there were 407 buttons.'

Rado, 59, faced the first day of her trial after pleading not guilty to one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug. Man said Rado was stopped on July 22 carrying her black suitcase and trying to leave via the 'nothing to declare' customs channel. Officers X-rayed her belongings. They found all the buttons contained heroin, with a street value of HK$673,000.

Rado said she knew nothing of the drug. She told police a Kenyan man had asked her to take the dresses to his mother. He had placed the dresses into the suitcase and locked it, Rado said. She said she was to return to Kenya after two days in Hong Kong, Man said. The trial continues before Mr Justice Patrick Li Hon-leung.